Facebook Meets Wisdom

I?m on Facebook. You?re on Facebook. Your kids, mom, youth group, and dog hang out in Facebook world. The site can be a useful tool, allowing you to chat with friends, post pictures of your ?Anakin Skywalker? themed birthday party, and send little notes to your pals like, ?Haha, LOL, C U L8TR? (I?m being a bit sarcastic ? I do like the site).

But Facebook (or Myspace, Twitter, etc.) also poses unique temptations, and we must think biblically about how we and our children use the site. Each of us needs to answer the question: How do I use Facebook for the glory of God?

Here are three major categories to think through in evaluating your use of Facebook:

Relationship with God

Facebook is a source of everlasting entertainment. It?s so easy to bounce from page to page, game to game, photo to photo. It?s mindless, distracting, and somewhat fun. Without self-control, a quick dip into Facebook can turn into a two-hour Internet safari.

Is it wrong to spend two hours on Facebook? Not necessarily. But it has the potential to drain the vitality out of our relationship with the Lord. Can you relate?

Try these questions on for size:

-??? Does using Facebook result in me spending less time with the Lord?

-??? Does it result in me being more distracted in my devotional times?

Relationships with Others

We were made for real, person-to-person relationships. Superpoking, chatting, and throwing snowballs at each other doesn?t constitute biblical fellowship. God created us to ?bear one another?s burdens? (Gal. 6:2), ?meet together? (Heb. 10:25), ?rejoice with those who rejoice?, and ?weep with those who weep? (Rom. 12:15) This doesn?t usually happen in a meaningful way on Facebook.

So?

-??? Do I invest more time in Facebook relationships than face-to-face relationships?

-??? Does using Facebook take me away from my family, friends, church, etc.?

Temptation

Just like television, music, and movies, Facebook is a loaded gun when it comes to temptation. Flirting, sexually immoral applications, sensual sidebar ads, inappropriate pics uploaded by friends ? it?s all possible. Can it be avoided? Sure. But the fact that it exists should put us on guard every time we log in.

And so we ask?

-??? Is using Facebook causing me to be sexually tempted?

-??? Am I taking the appropriate, biblical measures to fight against these temptations?

I don?t have this all figured out. I wrestle through these issues on a regular basis, and I would encourage you to wrestle through them as well. Parents, talk to your kids about these things. As you learn to use Facebook for the glory of God, teach your children to do the same.

Should we abandon Facebook because of these temptations? I don?t think so. But we need to think carefully and biblically every time we logon.

Here are a few articles that I found to be particularly helpful:

Connect with me on Facebook or Twitter

Comments

  1. Wendy says

    Your questions are excellent. I joined facebook just a few months ago and it didn’t take long to understand why someone could get drawn into spending way too much time there. There is no end to things to do. But it is helpful for me to remember that even if I spend less than 30 minutes a day on Facebook, it is still possible for it to make me distracted during times when my focus should be elsewhere and cause me to spend less time doing other things that I should be doing. Your questions are a good heart check for Facebook that can remind us that it is not a matter of time but a matter of priorities and guarding our hearts against temptations. Thank you!

  2. Rachel McC says

    Amen!! This is so true. Over the past month God has been working in my heart to see this reality. Between conviction of the Holy Spirit and a genuine fellowship-filled conversation with a close friend my heart was made aware of sin in this area (by not fulfilling my God given responsibilities b/c of computer time). Then Carolyn Mahaney’s posts on Girltalk on March 23-25 were an encouraging affirmation of God opening my eyes to how I have been wasting Real Life with Facebook, etc. The change in my relationship with God once I recognized and confessed an accidental, slowly growing idol has been so sweet. Thanks for being an unknowing part in affirming with this post what God has been doing in my life.

  3. says

    Facebook drives me nuts! I am on it but really get annoyed by it. Anyone seen the 25 Things I Hate About Facebook?
    I might post it today!

    GB

  4. says

    Thanks Stephen! Very helpful questions and reminders. I just joined facebook a couple months ago. I find it so helpful to connect to old friends (in other cities) and I even use it for work. But, it is SO easy to get sucked into it and spend too much time. Thanks!

  5. says

    I’ve actually found that Facebook has been really helpful in my faith walk. It has provided quite a few opportunities for spiritual discussions I never would have had otherwise. I’ve reconnected with many old friends and have learned that several of them are new Christians I’ve been able to encourage through Facebook email. I’ve learned of serious prayer needs I would not have discovered otherwise. I’ve even made a few new friends, one of whom I had trouble connecting with offline before we became “Facebook friends.” In short, Facebook is a great reminder that there are people in the world besides me and my immediate family and that I need to be loving and encouraging them, too.

  6. says

    Thanks for your article. I find that I spend too much time on Facebook. But I have trouble with conflicting interests: It is my goal, by using Facebook, to deepen the friendships I already have, and to share the joy of the Gospel of Jesus Christ with some of my friends who are not deeply committed…

    I feel that I can use Facebook for good… people post what they are feeling and I can offer words of comfort at the moment. I can post references to inspiring scriptures or to notes expressing what I believe.

    I agree that Facebook should not be the basis of friendship, but it is a tool to deepen friendships and share the Gospel.

    (As a side note, for ads, there are many plugins or simple CSS scripts that can block ads in most web browsers…)

    As I try to use Facebook for good, I do sometimes see my friendships in real life with these people deepen, and I can help share their joys and sorrows.

    But at the same time, I could be doing other things, such as reading the scriptures; I do set aside some time every day for this, but truthfully I spend more time on Facebook daily than in the scriptures. But I’m sharing the Gospel! I’m helping others!

    It has become a struggle for me; I see good in using Facebook, but I also see how much time it takes away… I guess I need to ask God to help me find a balance.

  7. Stephen Altrogge says

    Wendy – Great point. It’s so easy to construct “rules” for things like Facebook without ever addressing our hearts.

    Rachel – Glad we could help! It’s amazing how easy it is to substitute reality with something that pretty insignificant, like Facebook.

    Greg – I have seen it, and I haven’t done it.

    Shannon – I agree Facebook can be a very useful tool in connecting with people that we wouldn’t otherwise connect with. It sounds like you are using it wisely.

    Samuel – I feel the same tension that you do. I think we need to ask God for wisdom on how to use these tools effectively. And you’re right, AdBlock does a great job blocking Facebook ads.

  8. Jing says

    Thank you very much! It’s really a very good reminder to me and to other Christians as well. God bless…

  9. Vitumbiko Moses Mhango says

    I totally agree with you. I bin on facebook for a couple of months now and it has been benecial and destructive as well. It’s so addictive indeed and the questions that you’ve raised there apply to me to a greater degree. It think every believer needs to consider this least it becomes an idol in our lives. Otherwise we really need to be on the look against the devil’s traps.
    Thanks for this, God bless!!

  10. Sundari Soen says

    Thx fren! I’m blessed when i read ur article. I joined sth like friendster, facebook in demand of my friends. I just use my FB to connect with my old friends, friends in another country n my church friends. I use it more to show the activities we hav in our church by poster in wall n in my photos. Sometimes after the service or some acivities with church frenz, they post the photos n we give comments there, n i think it deepen our friendship in God. N today i just know that FB has many good article to read, like urs article, which sent by my pastor’s wife to our church group just now. Thx God for this society! We need to gospel more n puts the teens n youth heart n mind in right concept about life in God, let us fight against the porn site! Let our GOD’s name be glorified!
    Soli deo Gloria! Sola Christos! Sola Fide! Sola Scriptura n Sola Gratia!

  11. panda says

    Everything in this world coul be good or bad and that is depend on How you see, how you treat them.
    Do not be so naif, and think positively.
    I am not sure you are a good man, and you should ask yourself who is your God.
    If you see this is as a threat, actually this is your challenge to spread your field of Gospel.
    At last you will feel a blessed to have FB
    (There is no entry barrier and no borderline; please use this and do all you work and He gets all the glory)

  12. Ascana says

    dear writer,

    thank you for your post. it is good to consider those things when we decide to join in any kind of activities. I believe, it is not only for facebook. even common things like, joining clubs at schools, activities outside campus, etc. and ironically, even our activities in Church can keep us away from God, if it is merely only for getting together with friends, spending times, etc.

    on the other hand, those all ativities (including having an account in facebook) can be used for the glory of the Lord. we can support each other, share the goodness of God in our life, encourage friends, etc.

    however, I thank you for this.
    keep the faith and spirit.
    Gbu

    regards,

    Ascana

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