The things I can do on and Facebook and Twitter are incredible.
I can let you know exactly what I’m doing at 2:01 P.M. on Tuesday afternoon (drinking my third cup of coffee). I can post that goofy picture of me and my buddy sporting our sweetest 80’s clothes. I can take a quiz that helps me identify which ‘The Princess Bride’ character I’m most like. I can catch up with my high school friends.
Yet in the midst of all this, something strange can begin to take place. I can feel as though the things I say and post on Facebook and Twitter don’t really matter. As if, somehow, the things I say and do online are separate from the real me. Come on, it’s just Facebook, right?
Wrong. In Matthew 15:19 Jesus said:
For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander.
So what does this mean? It means that our status updates, photo uploads, wall posts, and online chats are a visible display of what is taking place in our hearts.
Posting flirtatious comments on someone’s picture isn’t “just what happens on Facebook”. Uploading an inappropriate photo isn’t just for fun. Relentlessly mocking someone isn’t what happens online. It’s the overflow of the heart. And it’s sin. What we do online is the real us. It doesn’t matter that we’re safely behind a computer screen.
And the sobering thing is, every action that takes place online has effects that last into eternity. Jesus said:
I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak… (Matt. 12:36)
Let’s put that verse into online terms. On the day of judgment people will give an account for every careless Tweet they post. Every inappropriate status update. Every sinful picture. Wall post. Chat.
On the final day, I don’t want to regret the things I said in cyber space. So for now, I need to watch what I Tweet, upload, and wall post. Because I am what I Tweet.
Here are some questions to get us thinking. Parents, Facebook and Twitter provide excellent conversation topics. Use these questions as starting points.
- Do I ever say anything on Facebook or Twitter that is impure or unedifying? (Ephesians 4:29)
- Am I communicating with anyone online that I wouldn’t want my spouse/parents/friends to know about? (1 John 1:6-7)
- What do my pictures, wall posts, status updates, and “friends” show about my heart?
Here’s the bad news: we’ve all sinned in this area. The good news is that Jesus Christ died for Facebook sinners like me. In light of this good news, let’s use Facebook and Twitter for the glory of God.
Note: This idea of the online me is the real me was first introduced to me by a pastor named Steve Whitacre. Thanks for your wisdom Steve!