Monday, February 2, 2009

Your Real Face Revealed

At the risk of sounding redundant to what my pastor spoke about yesterday (which, by the way, I've only heard second-hand at this point as I was home with my 5 year old son suffering from a migraine), I have a couple of thoughts concerning Facebook.

The first is this: It CAN be a good thing. As a social person who doesn't have a lot of time to talk on the phone or write full page letters (or find a stamp), facebook is a great way for me to keep up with friends and missionaries. Most importantly, it's a great "prayer chain" tool. I mean, how many people knew that a missionary wife out of our church who is currently on deputation was sick with the flu a few days ago? Unless you were on facebook, not very many people would have even heard until she was at the tail end of her illness. Those of us on her "friend" list were able to pray for her right when she needed that prayer.

Facebook, like most things on the internet, can be a good thing, but it can also be a very bad and spiritually unhealthy place to be. Which brings me to my second point.

Facebook reveals you for who you truly are.

I cannot tell you how many Christian friends I have/had that have totally shocked me in their real life ways. For some reason, most of us have no reservations about being truthful about our lives when all we have to face is a computer screen. Someone's "status" can be a call to prayer, something to make you smile or cry, or it can be down-right vulgar. Looking through some people's photos will reveal their heart as well. What you knew someone to be in church or school, you suddenly realize has another "face" completely. To quote a friend of mine on facebook, whom I went through junior high with - "It's interesting to see who stuck with the Lord and who was just going through the motions."

Now, for those of my readers who think I'm just "mortified" at pictures of girls wearing pants, that is NOT what I'm referring to. Let's get beyond that.

At the risk of offending someone, let me say this: I have lost a few facebook "friends" along the way with some of my conservative views; either by me removing them as friends or them removing me. As someone who doesn't like to hurt others, this has bothered me, but not for long. What are standards worth if you're not going to live by them? If I don't watch television or movies with vulgar language or very revealing dress, why should I allow that on my computer screen where, not only does it defile my eyes, but potentially the eyes of my husband and children?

If someone I knew in the past as a Christian following the Lord, how can I watch their life blaze across my computer screen as they flaunt their tatoos, beer parties, etc.? It grieves my heart. I pray for them. But, I remove them as my "friend."

It's odd, but a lot of my facebook friends who I never knew to live a life close to God do not post such pictures or nonsense. I don't see a lot of party-like pictures. I don't see girls dressed in a way that one would never guess they were a Christian. I see pictures of family and talk of everyday life. It makes me mourn where Christianity is today. Or, it makes me mourn where some Christians have gone.

But, then again, like I said, your real face is revealed on facebook. I have some friends that I never was sure where their walk was with the Lord but they have proved, through pictures and writing, that their hearts are knit close to His. They encourage me in my walk as they walk with Him. They'll praise the Lord in their status, lift other friends up in prayer, or just quote a Bible verse to encourage all of their "friends" - saved, unsaved, or back-slidden.

So, I'll continue on Facebook and I'll continue to be cautious about whom I "confirm as a friend" and I'll continue to "remove" friends as needed. All the while, I'll remember that MY true face is being revealed, as well.

22 comments:

Christina J. Ford said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Christina J. Ford said...

That was a good post. I’m not going to lie though, I didn’t agree with you on everything. I have also had to go through my “friends” and remove some, but I have never done so with out telling them why I have done so. Jesus didn’t just turn and walk away from the scribes and Pharisees or others. He told them how they were wrong according to scripture and then if they were willing, He helped them. Look at Mary Magdalene, she became a very godly woman. Peter messed up, but the disciples didn’t judge him or exclude him. I think that to many Christians today try to run away from the problem at hand, turn a judgmental back to the person that really need to be shown the love of Christ and just needs help. It is obvious to me that the people that put up pictures of things like “tattoos, beer parties, etc.” are just screaming out for some one to help them. If we are really ”concerned" than we should get up and do something about it.

Victoria said...

It's ok to disagree with me and you have some great points! I actually thought about including the discussion of "to inform or not to inform" friends that you're removing them. I've gone back and forth on that. You really set me straight - and I appreciate that:) You're a sweetie, Christina!

Jenna said...

I personally think this was excellent. I also don't think that Christians who are putting up pictures of sin are screaming for help. Those who grew up reading the Bible and in church know better. They have turned their back on God and his Word. I think that having compassion is important, but you have to draw the line.
Jesus was extremely hard on religious people who knew better. The compassion he showed was on sinners who needed the Lord.

simplysanctified said...

It's so very true!

Katie said...

this was excellent post!!! thank you... for all your posts :)

Sarah P said...

Thanks for the post Miss Vicki ... I have to agree that people's true side comes when are on facebook/myspace etc - I really appreciate the post!

Christina J. Ford said...

Jen,
I know that Jesus was harsh and up front about people’s sin, EXSPECIALY to the religious people,(that’s why I said we need to tell people why we are "removing them from our friend list) but He NEVER built a wall between them and himself. That is proven by Nicodemious. If Jesus had said, "you know better than that stay out of my life and go away" do you think that Nicodemious would have ever come to Jesus?

I'm not trying to justify people’s sin, but I’m tired of Christians being so stone hearted toward other Christians. Think of it this way, what if it was your child, would you want other Christians to “ignore” them all the time? Is that implementing the Love of Christ? I just don’t see how that is going to make a person want to come back to Christ.

I know full well there lines need to be drawn, and like I said before I have gone through my “friend” list and removed people. Doing nothing is not what Jesus did, it’s a lazy way of getting problem people out of our lives. We have to remember that we are accountable to God for every word we do say, and everything we DON’T say. Sometimes all it takes is one Christian to say one thing to a backsliding Christian, you and I both have heard peoples testimonies on how all it took was someone saying one thing that made them turn back to Christ. If all Christianity turned their back on them why would they want to come back to that?

arielle said...

Great post! :)

Carolee's Corner Canary Islands said...

I was wondering what was going on with FB--I can always tell when it gets preached on--from everyone's comments.
Being a missionary, facebook for me is a communication tool, nothing more. You can use it for good--you just don't have to do all the other junk with it.
I may be "friends" with people who don't share my convictions, but I don't think I have to "defriend" someone just because they put up a picture I don't like--I have unsaved relatives, unsaved aquaintances, etc. who occasionally like to see what we are doing over here on the mission field. And occasionally I might comment on one of their photos--oops, yes, they might not be dressed like us--but lets get real--the mission field isn't for someone who is so easily offended by someone wearing an immodest outfit, or doing something I don't condone. There is so much out there I don't agree with and wouldn't do, watch, wear, or say...and it doesn't make me want to live their lifestyle either.

In defense of facebook--it is the ONLY way I have any clue what is going on in peoples lives--who has time to write the missionaries anyway? I enjoy seeing pictures of weddings, babies, showers, etc. Most of the people who condemn FB have never made an attempt to contact me (I am not angry, just a fact--everyone is busy doing their own thing). I would greatly miss FB if everyone from my church got off of it : )

Victoria said...

Christina - Jesus did not build a wall between Himself and Nic. because Nic. was seeking Him. He wasn't being blatently sinful - he was truly searching. You are right - if it looks like someone is taking the wrong road, say something. But, if they turn their back on that and don't want anything more and continue to flaunt their worldly lifestyle, it's time to seperate yourself. Jesus did not "socialize" with Nic., the whole relationship was spiritual - leading Nic to Him

Carolee - I hope you didn't think I was just talking about people who don't dress conservatively. I'm talking about SERIOUS immodesty and flaunting of sin. I do know how FB must be a life-line for you, which is why I joined in the first place. I do love to see your pics and keep up with your work and family in the CI. Don't worry - most of us aren't going anywhere - and, from what I understand - the message wasn't a slam on FB - it was more of a caution:)

arielle said...

Mrs Schwaderer summed it up very well. Great comment!! I too am thankful for FB as it allows me to keep in contact with my church, friends and family around the world!! :)

Mr. Young said...

"Who has time to write the missionaries anyway?"

Ouch!

Thank You!

just a girl named jenn said...

Great post! You said many things that I've often thought of while using facebook, and I too have been dropped for as a friend on more than one occasion. Living away from most of my friends and all of our family, it's been a great tool to stay connected, and that's all. I've tried hard lately not to abuse my time spent on there because it can be such a waste if you let it. (FYI...I don't have any tattoos, but I do like them :) Love ya friend!!!

Jean Marie Bibby said...

Thank you for your blog! I have something for you on my blog, stop by soon!

Angel said...

Wow! THis caused quite a stir! I just wanted to add that sometimes we each need to seek the Lord's guidance individually on how to treat a fallen away person. If it is a family member, often times, it is a lot harder to seperate in the same way that another non-related Christian might. However, in formerly being a fallen away Christian( or possibly not one, at all) I do remember the Christians that were willing to be confrontive with my sin and still love me versus the ones who had a very judgemental and non loving attitude. I don't think, as Christians that we participate in sin, but we always keep an open line of communication and genuine love and concern for those who possibly may not even know the Lord, even though they have professed salvation. The bottom line is that when we know Christ as as our saviour, he is working in our lives and our fruit should be evident.There are possibly many people who profess salvation but are fooling themselves and that is a great concern. I also want to add that in my life, there have been friends that I do believe are saved but they have been treated so badly by abusive spouses, abused by parents, etc......they seem to need a total revamping of who God is and what Christ's love has done for us. My heart aches for one who can't get a grasp of how deep God's love is and it's ours for the taking. We should always have an attitude of sadness
and genuine care and concern for the lost (even those who claim to be "saved").

Lisa said...

Wow, Vicki, I think this is probably your most-commended-on post! :-) And I agree with you, the message wasn't a "slam" on FB, it was a caution of what it COULD become. And as someone who lives (most of the time!) in another country, I needed the warning against spending too much time there.

Carolee's Corner Canary Islands said...

They say if you want to get more people to read your blog then write on something controversial : )
Looks like you suceeded!!
There are some topics I would love to write on, but I am just too chicken!! Don't want to open myself up for criticism (I don't like rejection).

PS I didn't even get to hear the message you all did, so I don't want to seem like I was going against what they were saying, I deeply respect their warnings as those who have to watch for our souls and have to give an account for it.

Anonymous said...

All the people that disagree should just go to opbbc.org and listen to the message and I think you will understand! I agree with you 100% Mrs. M!!

Heidi said...

Great Post! Pastor's message was very good too and what I needed to hear! I agree that FB can be used for very good or could become bad, and that is usually a slow process. I have also taken off friends and for several reasons. There have been some that have left the faith and are living in complete sin and not wanting to live right and I was convicted that I should not be felowshipping w/them on here. I would not be hanging out with them in real life either.But...then there were just some friends that just have changed so much and were ok w/posting pics of themselves in nothing but under garments and like you said "beer parties". I have always been one to write someone and tell them why I am taking them off, but then I was condemned by someone who said I was in everyone's business, telling them what is right and wrong, and I should just stay out and let them live their lives (this is was one of my Christian friends). So..FB has been hurtful at times. I decided that I love it when I can fellowship with fellow Christians and missionaries who are walking w/the Lord and I also have family on mine that don't believe the same as me in many areas but we just briefly stay in touch. Thanks Vicki for the post!!!

Sally and Greg said...

I too have had to "remove" a few friends from my FB account. One of which was a so-called Christian who was tagged in a photo album of a work party at Salvators---dressed as a woman. Outright and blatently a homosexual living in sin. Or, there are those who are constantly using vulgarity in their status updates. It truly breaks my heart to remove people but I cannot allow such things to permiate my vision and bring me down spiritually. I don't feel that as a woman, it is my place to tell them why I am removing them, unless it is another woman.

A helpful tip for some of those advertisements along the side...click on the thumbs up or thumbs down directly under the ad and explain why you like/dislike the ad. I was getting a few nasty ones and started voting on them as inappropriate and offensive, and I don't get them anymore.

Facebook is what you make it. It can be a tool, yet can also be a hinderance. Choose your friends wisely, and remove those who discourage and cause you to question your standards.

Thanks Vicki for the wonderful post!!!

the reynolds said...

This is a good post and I will listen to the sermon. I have chosen to live in ignorance. We keep up with others and share ourlives via a blog. I won't even come close to, nor let my family dabble in FB. I saw just enough from others at my home that I want nothing to do with it. I am not condemning those that do, but as for me and my house we will not! Like it has been said, I believe there is a warning here to be heeded just like many many other things in life that can get out of hand with out constant vigilance.Hence - our choice to abstain.
What is wrong with a simple blog anyway? Like I said - I choose to remain ignorant and uninvolved in the world of FB.