Facebook and Fellowship
My recent article on Facebook and the 10 Commandments has garnered a lot of attention and numerous email responses. Judging from the responses, it appears that Facebook has become a way of life for a lot of us, and we don’t like it when someone tells it like it is – because it exposes something about ourselves that we don’t want to admit.
Most of us under the age of 35, myself included, turn on our computers as soon as we wake up or get home from work. After washing up and getting coffee on, the first thing most of us check is Facebook. We check in on our “friends” on Facebook, to see how many “likes” we got or how many shares our post received and so on. Is this wrong? I don’t think it is wrong per se, but when it becomes all consuming, when it makes you feel “down” or when we start sinning using Facebook, we need to reconsider what we are doing on it and with it.
Those of us on Facebook usually look through photographs and status updates that our “friends” post, and we start to think that everyone is so much better-off than we are. How come everyone is so happy and why am I so not happy? Then we post something to try to make ourselves feel better, but no one comments on it or “likes it” and we get a little more depressed. Admit it. I will admit it. I have done similar things in the past, so don’t think I am any better than anyone else. One stay at home mom confided in me: “My husband works late almost every evening, so it is only me and the kids all day…. I cook and clean and the only adult conversation I get is on facebook or when my mom calls. My friends on facebook all post happy and exciting updates…. I sit at home and get more frustrated at life every day… Everyone else has friends… but I don’t have any real friends [where I live]. Other than my kids, Facebook is my life so I also post uplifting and happy things so I don’t seem like the weird one…” Can you relate to this?
The “you” that you reveal on Facebook is the “you” that you want others to see. For instance, yes I use the moniker, “One Christian Dad” for my Facebook page and my blog. But do you really think I am the perfect Christian Dad and Husband? To suggest that is laughable. Yet, I have had some people email me saying things like, “I wish I was a father like you,” or, “I wish my husband was more like you…” Let me tell you that I am not perfect; I struggle with sin just like you and your husband. Perhaps I am a bit further along in my spiritual walk, but I am far from perfect, I am not happy all the time (just ask Teresa), even if I do portray that image on Facebook…I am not trying to deceive anyone, so I apologize if I led any of you to think that. The ironic thing here is that the people, who say these things to me, also portray themselves as happy, content, and successful on Facebook, much like the single mom I quoted above. Do you see where I am going with this? We all think the other person is so much better off, when really we are all in the same boat…lonely, struggling to make ends meet, angry, sad, sinful people.
Facebook, is a wonderful tool if used properly but is not where we should fellowshipping with other believers – this is not where we do church. Church is real people, not the Facebook portrayal of people. Church is real people dealing with real issues, worshipping a real God together, daily praying together, reading the word together, and working through their issues with support, prayer, Bible study, and encouragement. When we do church I can’t cover up how I am struggling by posting untrue positive status updates, smiley faces, and “likes”. When we live our lives in Facebook, we are in control. But in real life, in the real church, God is in control – not us. When we live our lives for real with other real people they see who we really are – not the Facebook modified version you. So get involved in Church. Sign up to serve in some capacity with other believers, do “Love Chilliwack,” get involved in a bible study or a small group. Be around other believers. Share status updates in person, not only on Facebook. We are relational creatures, created to thrive in relationships with God and other believers.
I would rather you “like” me for the real me, rather than for the latest casting crowns song I posted to my wall. If you really want, you can “like” or “share” this post on Facebook – I don’t mind, but how about we do coffee or lunch and talk about it in person?
All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.