I LOVE social media because I love to be social! I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know many of my friends in new ways through their daily status updates, links to things they find interesting, verses they post, pictures from their daily life and interaction in my comments. I have connected with strangers on Facebook and Twitter, and those strangers – turned friends - have become real life meaningful friendships off-line! I LOVE that!
To be honest, it has nearly eliminated all my phone time in the home. If I have something to say to a friend, I hop onto Facebook and Twitter to “chat”. I miss my friends who are not on Facebook (but respect their reasons) simply because I feel like I have less access to them. I have to remember to be sensitive to their feelings of being “left out”. I have gotten closer to some of my acquaintances who are regulars on Facebook and Twitter – cause that’s where I hang out when I need a break from cleaning, homeschooling or parenting lol!
But it comes with some dangers.
1. Hurt feelings – I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve read a comment and have thought “What does she mean? Is she mad at me? Is she joking around? Am I being too sensitive?” Facebook comments are dangerous – beware and think before you type! I am sure that I am guilty of this too! Proverbs 26:18,19 says ”Like a madman who throws firebrands, arrows, and death is the man who deceives his neighbor and says, “I am only joking!” Beware of comments that are sarcastic – you could lose a friendship over it!
2. Judging- I have friends who have quit Facebook because they struggled with the status updates of friends who they thought lived one way but they discovered lived a very different way. This is where sin and matters of liberty and conscience come into play. We must call sin - sin but give grace to our friends on matters of liberty. I will admit that when I see a swear word pop up – it mars my dear friend! Oh and those bikini photos – I’ll never understand…do you see how ugly those thoughts are that ooze so easily out of me. I must admit - I struggle at times. I have to continually consider – is it worth confronting or will I let it go – let it completely go. I am not on Facebook to be everyones Holy Spirit! That’s a really quick friendship killer! Which Satan thoroughly enjoys! John 10:10 says, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” Satan would love to use social media to destroy our friendships – but Jesus came to give us an abundant life. Do not let sinful judgement of friends destroy your friendships. Remember, we are all human on the journey toward sanctification and we are all in different places on our journey.
3. Public embarrassment -I will raise my hand first and say I’ve embarrassed myself publically on many occassions because of my loose lips. In the moment, a status update or comment feels right – but sometimes the next day I wonder – what in the world was I thinking? Words carry power – and I feel like it’s been a learning and maturing process on what to say publically and what not to say publically. Proverbs 10:19 says “When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent.”
4. Jealousy – The comparison trap is just that – a trap! Pictures of vacations, new homes, new cars, or fun nights out with friends are a breeding ground for jealousy. There are two sides to this coin. First there’s the person putting the information out there. Is it wrong to show your vacation or fun night out? NO…but can we be sensitive to those who weren’t invited or who can’t afford a vacation this year. We don’t have to post every picture or every night out. Philippians 2:4 says “ Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” This is one reason why I did not post my pictures from our Myrtle Beach trip or Willliamsburg trip this year on the blog. I want to be sensitive to the fact that not everyone will be happy to see those pictures.
On the flip side, jealousy is all throughout the Bible and we see how deadly it is to all friendships. Remember Cain and Abel, Joseph and the coat of many colors, Haman and Mordecai, Sarah and Hagar, Saul and David, the Pharisees and Jesus. These are just to name a few, if we looked into it further we’d find many more relationships in the Bible that were ruined by jealousy. Jealousy comes when we take our eyes off of Jesus.
When I feel discouraged by things happening in the social media world I always come to a point of realizing…I have taken my eyes off of Jesus. Hebrews 12:2,3 are some of my FAVORITE verses and they say, “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith. Who for the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”
5. Inappropriate Relationships with men. I am in NO way suggesting that women cannot have healthy relationships with men. But for me – (again I am just saying this as my personal conviction) I have decided to not have friends on facebook who are male. I wrote an entire blog post here about this decision if you are interested.
One rule of thumb I follow for the words I type on the internet is this:
If your pastor put all the words you said on-line this week, up on a screen for your entire church to view…is there anything you’d be embarrassed of? If something comes to mind…delete it…and remember Proverbs 10:19 “When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent.”
Social Media has GREATLY impacted my women friendships. We were created for relationship. God created Eve because it was not good for Adam to be alone. Outside of our husbands, we long for deeper friendships with women but sin has entered our relationships simply because we are all sinners. Some women hide behind the computer and chat all day on-line but never make real life friendships. I do it the opposite way. I take my on-line friendships and go deeper with them by having women into my home for bible study, creating Good Morning Girls groups where we email each other daily about the deeper things of God, I skype my on-line friends who are too far away to get together. I pursue real life friendship through Girls Night Outs and playdates in my home. My life is fuller because of my women friendships. I encourage you to pursue taking your on-line friendships off-line.
Now it’s your turn – tell me – how has social media affected your friendships?
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