Jesus will return someday, and we’ll meet Him in the air. At that moment in the twinkling of an eye when we are changed, all the wood, hay, and stubble of life will burn away; and only the eternal will remain. And this is the standard by which we measure priorities as we live day by day.
If you are a Facebook or Twitter user, you have probably posted a comment or status update and later regretted it at least once. Awww, come on! Yes, you have!
The truth is: I have done it more than once. Usually, I am trying to be funny or clever or a smarty pants, and later I realize the words that I have left behind for half of the known world to read again and again did nothing for anybody or even worse, maybe did some harm.
At the time, I was glad for the delete option; and I as I deleted, I may have been praying that my actions in pressing “share” didn’t do much harm. In a few cases, I have actually sent private messages to individuals to make sure I was properly understood.
I remember for one solid week, I came back to Facebook almost daily and deleted things. I was on a royal roll of inserting my foot into my mouth, and again so happy for the delete option. I remember taking mental inventory and asking myself, “Hey what’s going on here, Bonnie? You are a needy mess!”
I have occasionally read things from others that my eyes blinked in disbelief over, and my brain was hardly able to absorb that my “friend” had posted something like that about me, others, or her/himself. And I know you have experienced the same thing.
Sooo… I know I am not alone here. Everyone using Facebook or Twitter or any consistent blogger has made a blooper or two at some time or read a blooper or two.
I did a little research about the subject and discovered a very interesting article titled:
“I regretted the minute I pressed share:”
A Qualitative Study of Regrets on Facebook.”
It was complied by a number of educators who conducted the study on nearly 600 Facebook users. You can read the whole article here. I think you will find it fascinating.
Bottom line, it seems there are a lot of people who share things they regret later. Here are their findings:
“Our research reveals several possible causes of why users make posts that they later regret:
(1) they want to be perceived in favorable ways,
(2) they do not think about their reason for posting or the consequences of their posts,
(3) they misjudge the culture and norms within their social circles,
(4) they are in a “hot” state of high emotion when posting, or under the inﬂuence of drugs or alcohol,
(5) their postings are seen by an unintended audience,
(6) they do not foresee how their posts could be perceived by people within their intended audience, and
(7) they misunderstand or misuse the Facebook platform.
Some reported incidents had serious repercussions, such as breaking up relationships or job losses.”
As I completed the research paper, it became evident that most of the Facebook users interviewed were not believers. Their regrets could be categorized above but their actions were different from believers. They regretted lying or revealing secrets to others through Facebook, confessing things on Facebook they did while drunk or high or angry, and sexual escapades, etc. They also confessed to breaking up relationships, separating friends, losing friends, or losing jobs or job possibilities because of things they posted on Facebook.
Wow! These things are expected of those who walk in darkness, as believers how does this apply to us?
Since most of my “friends” on Facebook are believers, I don’t find these kinds of things in my general status feed daily. But I do find things people should not have posted, and occasionally I am guilty as well.
Now, with that said. I am a big social media fan. I think it is a powerful tool for communication with family and friends. More often that not, I have drawn closer to someone because I struck up a conversation with someone on Facebook or commented on their photos or thoughts for the day. I can think of at least two dozen people or more that I keep in touch with on FB, and it has improved and strengthen our relationships.
Each year as my birthday passes, I am deeply encouraged and feel really loved when I read my birthday greetings. I am always taken back, and I have been very blessed to have such great family members or friends in my life. Those little messages of remembrances and love go deep.
I also think Facebook is a powerful tool for edifying the body. I know many people dislike it when people post food or famous quotes, etc. But I don’t. I really let the words of others lift my soul. And I am blessed when I see other people enjoying life by having a great meal.
I think it it better to “hide” someone’s posts if you don’t like their status reports, their quotes or photos of food rather than harp on the dos and don’ts of Facebook users. People’s likes and dislikes are as different as hot dogs and sushi in taste and appeal. But no one needs to police. Live and let live on Facebook, that is as long as things are edifying.
The more I think about the power of Facebook to encourage and bring healing and salvation to others, the more charged I get. I am not talking about being hyper spiritual and writing only scriptures all the time in your status updates. But I am talking about really blessing and encouraging when your heart is moved as you read. Telling people they have done well or how they bless you or that you love or need them in some way. That they are accomplishing much in their life, etc. You know when to say an encouraging word to other. Why not use Facebook to do it, especially if you think it? This kind of posting will change lives.
I think the two areas I have slipped the most in is trying to be funny or cool or reacting from something someone else posted. This scripture is so meaningful to me as I seek to renew my eternal purposes for social media:
You say, “Everything is permitted.” But not everything is good for us. Again you say, “Everything is permitted.” But not everything builds us up. We should not look out for our own interests. Instead, we should look out for the interests of others (I Corinthians 10:23-24).
Everything is permitted, but is it constructive? Will it encourage or bless?
It’s good to remember a few things as you post: Friends and family of different beliefs or levels of belief will be reading. Whatever you say may cause them to stumble or deter them in some way.
Here are some guidelines: Be real without offense. Be honest without gross, unnecessary details. Really, most people don’t want the details. Be funny if it comes naturally. Don’t try to win any awards for the funniest, cleverest, or most spiritual posts. Just communicate your heart or mind, reach out, think about edifying and building others up rather than making statements about yourself, trying to be cool or clever. Bottom line: think of blessing others more than making yourself look great.
God is FOR using all kinds of communication forms to further His kingdom. He’s not opposed to any of it. He doesn’t consider it of the world or too low or too material, as long as we glorify Him and edify others at all times.
In fact, if Jesus were to post something today, I think He would say something like:
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’There is no commandment greater than these” (Mark 12:31-32).
I am going to ask myself before I make a comment or tweet or post a status update, “I am loving God without all my heart? Am I loving my neighbor as myself?”
And when in doubt, don’t press share.
I’m for turning over a new purpose on Facebook. How about you?