What Does Your "Facebook" Say About You?
There can be absolutely no doubt that online social networking has been one of the major developments in the last ten years. MySpace, Xanga, Pleonast, and others have led us to the point where much of our life is displayed publicly online for pretty much anyone to see. In particular, the social networking site “Facebook” has become likely the most significant development in what is actually a short period of time considering its massive growth. Since launching in February of 2004, Facebook now boasts over 800 million users (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Facebook).
There are many lessons to consider concerning a very popular website. Many question whether or not a Christian should even be involved with such a site when there are so many mistakes that can be made. Certainly, one should question the amount of time spent on such a site. One could even become addicted. However, as I have learned from personal experience, Facebook is such a great tool to spread the Gospel if used properly. For this reason, Christians should take care in particular to ask themselves the questions, “What does my Facebook say about me?”
Consider a few passages briefly:
“A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, and favor is better than silver or gold.” (Proverbs 22:1)
“A good name is better than precious ointment…” (Ecclesiastes 7:1a)
“Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money.” (I Timothy 3:2-3)
Naturally we can see that God would seek us to understand that our reputation is of particular importance. Notice, popularity is not the command here. We should take care to make sure that we have a reputation for doing things which are good. Especially among those seeking to be elders, you must pay particular attention to your reputation because if you don’t…you will not be a qualified candidate to serve as one.
Also consider another couple of passages:
“In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)
“Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.” (I Corinthians 11:1)
In addition to having a good reputation, we must be sure that we are teaching others by example. As mentioned, there are some pitfalls we must avoid when posting a profile online. However, there are some very excellent opportunities to teach the Gospel if we are a good example to others. Paul himself lived his life in a way that he could use himself as an example to teach others how Christ would have us live. Our lives should be lived similarly.
What does our choice of friends on Facebook say about us?
We must be very careful about the friends we choose (I Corinthians ). I am not talking about the friends on your “friends” list. I am talking about the friends you communicate with most often on Facebook? Who posts on your wall? Who do you have pictures tagged with? If someone saw who you chose to be closest to, would they know you were a Christian?
What does our profile information on Facebook say about us?
This of course is the section of your profile that you have a lot of control over. You can tell a bit about yourself and your interests. You can even list your relationship status, your political views, and your religious views. If we looked at your page, would your page reflect that of a Christian? Many times I see Christians list their religious views as something to the effect of “I am a Christian, ask me about it.” I think that is a great way to get people asking about the Gospel. Consider something similar. Facebook is a great opportunity to teach the Gospel, don’t be ashamed of it (Romans ).
What does our pictures that we post or are tagged in say about us?
We know for certain that a Christian is expected to dress modestly (I Timothy 2:9-10). I find it sad when someone lists that they are a member of the church on their Facebook profile and yet…their clothing choices in their pictures do not reflect that. That is not to say that it is OK to be immodest as long as I do not post a picture of it to Facebook. However, we must pay particular attention to what we put online…because what we put there says a lot about us and can have a lasting impression on our reputation and our ability to teach others by example.
I also find it sad to see a picture online of a Christian who is partaking in sinful acts. You would likely be surprised at how many pictures of college students end up online where the student is involved in some sort of immorality, especially drunkenness. While they are certainly sinning by even partaking in such activities, it is particularly poor judgment to let pictures like this get online. You will lose your credibility and it will be tough to get it back. We must be especially careful of the pictures we post. In the grand scheme of things, don’t be involved in immorality at all and you won’t have to worry about it.
What does our status updates on Facebook say about us?
Many people update their “status” several times a day. What do you post about? If you really think about it, your status updates are a reflection of what it is you are thinking about. What kind of language do you use (Colossians 3:8)? Is it the type of language you would expect a child of Christ to use?
Not only should we be careful about the things we do post, we must also make sure that we are using this method to spread the Gospel. Why not invite people to church or post a verse for others to consider? Perhaps you could post some thoughts from the lesson on Sunday or a particular passage you are studying personally. People take notice, and sometimes they will be interested enough to engage you in conversations about the Bible. What an opportunity you have to teach the Gospel if they do!
Facebook is certainly part of the world now. There are many things that we should consider before going online. We have to make sure that our online activity is reflective of the lives we are supposed to live as Christians. The thing is… Facebook is such a powerful tool to use to spread the Gospel. Some of the individuals from
~ Kevin Markum
*All scriptures quoted are from the 2007 edition of the English Standard Version, Copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles.