Monday, April 4, 2016

Be careful what you post on Facebook!

There are an estimated 7.4 billion people on earth. More than 1 billion of those people use the social media site called Facebook. That is amazing when you really think about it. Like anything, Facebook has the potential to be used for good, but it can also be used for the not so good. I sat in a church committee meeting once where a lady in our church spoke profound words of wisdom concerning the negative side of Facebook posts. She said, using Bobby Boucher's mother from The Waterboy as inspiration, "Facebook is the devil." Unfortunately there is plenty on Facebook and many other sites on the internet that isn't exactly wholesome or edifying.

As you watch things (drama, if you will) unfold on your Facebook Newsfeed, you will find that there are generally two things that should never make it into a Facebook post. Many people don't post these things but too often you'll see it creep up from time to time. When you stop and think about it common sense will tell you not to post these things but our emotions get the better of us and we "just have to vent." Putting the excuses aside that we use to rationalize our posts, let's look at the two types of posts we have to be careful about putting on Facebook.

Negative Relationship Comments
When I say relationship, let's just assume that means marriage, but it can definitely apply to any type of relationship. Nothing good can come from sharing your personal family problems on social media. You force friends, real and virtual, to watch an uncomfortable scene unfold before their eyes. What it does is paint a one-sided view of an argument that clearly has two sides. We seek support in the form of Likes, Comments, and Shares but in the end it only causes others to gossip and paint your significant other in a negative light. Regardless of how angry, upset, or frustrated you are with your spouse, posting your relationship problems for the world to see never helped anyone. Ever. To help see it from a biblical perspective consider what we read in Ephesians 5. Verses 15-16 say, "Be very careful, then, how you live — not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil." Paul goes on a few verses later to tell husbands to love their wives like Christ loves the church and that wives should respect their husbands. We aren't living wise, showing love to our spouse, or respecting them if we're posting negative comments about them or the issues in our marriage. We should deal with our relationship issues like adults, not middle school kids. That means if you need outside help, seek out a counselor. Facebook friends who have no vested interest in the success of your marriage are the least qualified people to be giving you relationship advice.

Slander is MUCH more prevalent than other issues on Facebook. We find it very easy to sit behind a PC, tablet, or smartphone and type our opinion for the world to see. We see it as harmless because we aren't face to face with the person and he who types fastest and receives the most likes "wins." Yeah...right! So there is no confusion as to what we're talking about here, slander is "an accusation maliciously uttered, with the purpose or effect of damaging the reputation of another." When we post something on Facebook with the intent to damage a person's reputation, whether it is true or not, we're slandering them. (Not to mention if it is false, since it is in print it is now libel and you can be sued over it!) Forget the damage to a person's reputation or the broken relationship between you and them. The real damage is spiritual. Not only is slander prohibited by the 9th commandment (Exodus 20:16) but there are numerous warnings against the sin of slander in the New Testament (Romans 1:29-30; 2 Corinthians 12:20; 1 Timothy 3:11; 2 Timothy 3:3; Titus 2:3). We need to follow the wise counsel from the Book of James and learn to guard our tongues, which have a direct impact on what we post.

The best thing we can do is to make sure that what we post doesn't come close to slander or sharing relationship problems that should stay private. The best advice might be the simple advice many of us learned from our mothers. "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all!"

If you enjoyed today's post be sure to Share it on Facebook and Twitter so others can be encouraged too!

(Definition of Slander is from the International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia, Electronic Database Copyright © 1996, 2003, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

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