Friday, January 21, 2011

Redeeming Facebook: What NOT to do

This is the third of the facebook related posts. If you're not a facebook user, these may have little to do with you, so I apologize. I'll be done soon, but feel like this is apropos for many. 

The last post dealt with ways in which I think people can allow Christ to redeem facebook by putting into practice Christ's commands to love our neighbors, even cyber-neighbors or "friends." I now to turn to how Christ can redeem our facebook activity by NOT using it in ways our world often does. So this is the negative side of things, how not to conform to the pattern of this world (Romans 12:2). Even your facebook use has to be brought under submission to the Lordship of Christ. So this is just my attempt to lay forth some ways I've thought about, and even been very tempted by.

1.) Don't bash or call out family members, even and particularly your children. It dishonors them. I'm personally thankful that Connar can't post, "Dad yelled at me me tonight when I dropped my cup of water on the floor. He was mad at something else and took it out on me." If he had an account, and could spell and type, that could have been his status update earlier this week. I failed as a father that night and had to apologize. I'd hate for him to post my failures as a father, so I think the same thing applies for his failures as a son. We've all given our kids plenty to post about so resist that urge to post ways in which they've failed. Obviously the same applies for kids blasting their parents.

2.) Be very careful (which is not the same as saying its always wrong) venting on facebook. When you vent to a real friend, you may feel the need to use words which are probably OK in that context, but not OK for the rest of your "friends." And the very nature of venting is that you will say things you probably shouldn't. But once you hear yourself say them, you can process, and calm down. You can be heard by someone, but you don't need to be heard by everyone of your "friends." We don't have to know EVERYTHING that is going on. You should have close relationships in which you can vent and bare your soul, and sometimes facebook venting really just manifests a dearth of such close relationships.

3.) Facebook community is a helpful supplement, and can be a great encouragement during super busy seasons, or for those separated by distances. But when you find that your "friends" are the only ones you are "talking" with, its probably a good idea to get out of the house or at least get on the phone.

4.) Jabbing is very easy on facebook. Gossiping and manipulating has never been so easy. Its easy to take jabs at other churches, people, friends, and family by posting things which outwardly seem positive, but really are designed to manipulate someone into action or jealousy. Examine your own heart before you post something that could be taken as a slap in the face by another.  Don't take the world's bait and live in the same manner as those outside Christ's family.
I would love to hear some more principles (I've left out many) which would help guide us in our pursuit to honor Christ and each other in this overall helpful and practical tool called the social network.

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