A search on Facebook reveals a number of groups and fan pages that have been set up to focus on Jesus Christ. You can “Like” and “Follow” Jesus on Facebook, but you can’t “Friend” Him. He doesn’t have an account. Why then are we speculating about what He would do if He were on Facebook? Well, that’s not really our aim. Many of His people are on Facebook. All Christians must be careful how we use Facebook, for what we do will reflect upon the Lord and His church.
“What’s on your mind? This is one of the questions that often appears in the status box. Friend, you don’t have to answer. it is OK to leave it blank, especially if you have nothing good to post. Folks will post all kinds of things, from the menial to the mean. O child of God, I don’t particularly care that you did your dishes this morning, but I’d much rather read that than to see you airing your dirty laundry.
I wish I could give a Proverb from Solomon about Facebook status updates, but alas, he wrong long before our digital age. And yet it would do us good to apply his words on the use of the tongue to our fingers as they dance across the keyboard.
He who has knowledge spares his words, and a man of understanding is of a calm spirit. Even a fool is counted wise when he holds his peace; when he shuts his lips; he is considered perceptive. (PROVERBS 17:27-28)
Facebook is generally not the place to vent our frustrations about someone or something to the world. God’s word says we shouldn’t be complaining (Philippians 2:14-15) or gossiping (1 Timothy 5:13), but diligently guard what we say (Matthew 12:36-37). If we have an issue with someone, God says we should go to him and work it out (Matthew 5:23-24; 18:15). Our Facebook account does not free us from any of God’s commands. It makes no difference whether we use a wagging tongue or a series of keystrokes – we are responsible for what we say and write.
The apostle Paul gave instruction for the use of our tongues. These commands should govern every communication, including Facebook:
…putting away lying, ‘Let each one of you speak truth with his
neighbor,’ … Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification … Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. …neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. (EPHESIANS 4:25, 29, 31; 5:4)
Our posts on Facebook should be truthful, not promoting wickedness or hatred nor speaking evil of rulers, but pure, beneficial to others, and exalting God. I’m not saying every or even the majority of posts made by a Christian must be religious (though one might expect a focus on the Bible in the day-to-day speech and Facebook posts of one professing faith in Christ), but every post should be respectable.
Sharing / Reposting
Sometimes we see something in our Facebook feeds that we want to repost. Brethren, please, before sharing something, check a few things:
- Is there cursing, perversity or something else sinful in it? If so, don’t repost it!
- What is the source of content you want to share? If we share content from “Funny @#$% Happens,” that is going to appear on our page. Even if the content is good, do we really want an ugly word or phrase on our Facebook page? If you must post the content, copy & paste the text or video link, or download the photo and post it rather than sharing it.
- Before sharing a ’news’ story, check to make sure it is true. Every day falsehoods are shared on Facebook, sometimes unwittingly by Christians. We want to be known as trustworthy, but if we are posting hoaxes and outright lies, people will learn to disregard what we write and say.
Photos & Video
It is really neat that I can take a photo with my phone, and within a few seconds it can be on Facebook and visible for all to see. What a great way to share our lives with loved ones. That said, some photos that have been posted by some Christians are cause for concern.
A few years back, a young Christian set a bikini-clad woman as his profile picture. Concerned, I sent him a private message. I was bluntly told it was none of my business, and then blocked. My desire for him was that he would make a covenant with his eyes to not allow lust a foothold in his life (Job 31:1; Matthew 5:28).
It is equally disconcerting to see Christian women posting immodest photos of themselves. Ladies, hear the apostle Paul:
…women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation … which is proper for women professing godliness… (1 Timothy 2:9-10)
Likes and the like…
There are two types of “Likes” on Facebook: 1) status or comment likes, and 2) interest likes. In both cases, our “Likes” reveal something about our character. As questionable as it may be to “Like” the Baltimore Ravens, it has no moral implication. But if you “Like” R-rated moves, smutty books, evil causes (ie. Pro-choice), etc., how do these things reflect upon you and upon the Lord you claim to serve? Friends, we need to be discerning in our “Likes.”
Let Your Light Shine
The Lord expects us to be righteous in the world. We’re called to be “the light of the world,” a shining example of good works (Matthew 5:14-16). Paul acknowledged the “crooked and perverse generation” that surrounds
Friends, we have a high calling—we are called to be imitators of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1; Ephesians 5:1; 1 Thessalonians 1:6; etc.). We must do so in all areas of our life—our online persona is no exception. May God be glorified in our lives, and people be drawn to Him through us. Facebook (and the internet in general) is such a powerful tool; may we use it for good, not evil. For those who do not have Facebook, every principle discussed here is applicable to how we conduct ourselves in life in general. Let’s go into the world and be what God wants us to be.