I have to confess that I’ve found myself wasting way too much time scrolling through Facebook posts. I casually pick up my phone and look to see local news, friendly posts and then something catches my eye like “Weird Tales From the Woods” and I get sucked in. It’s like falling into a black hole and waking up to find I’ve been drifting for a half an hour or more. What happened and where did the time go? Which is exactly what the writers want to happen! I’ve been trapped by “click bait”!
Worse though is when I have innocently engaged in political or ethical discussions which became debates and then spiraled into pointless arguments. Warning alarms go off in my head telling me to EXIT quickly. I have a couple of cousins that have become angry Trump and Republican haters. It doesn’t matter what the situation – even natural disasters are all the presidents’ fault. Really? (Not that I approve of all that is happening) I had to unfriend one person because I thought I was having a discussion with him when two of his “facebook friends” jumped in and started to verbally attack me when they realized I was a person of faith.
… guard what God has entrusted to you. Avoid godless, foolish discussions with those who oppose you with their so-called knowledge… 1 Tim 6:20 (NLT)
I was not raised in an era of instant technology and information. I have learned the hard way to be very careful when commenting on a friends’ post or re-post. The definition for discernment is: 1. the ability to judge well. 2. (in Christian contexts) perception in the absence of judgment with a view to obtaining spiritual direction and understanding.
Social Media can be such a wonderful thing. I love seeing pictures of friends and their children, grandchildren, celebrations and travels. I appreciate the encouragement of a shared scripture verse or sermon link. It is exciting to read updates from missionaries and ministries we prayerfully and financially support. Multimedia is such an important part of our everyday it would be hard to live without it. Slowly I have become more aware of the dangers of time thieves, half-truths, one-sided news and opinions. I have also blocked acquaintances that share photos or memes that I don’t care to see!
Did you know that the Bible gives guidelines for what we view in any kind of media even though It was written thousands of years ago?!
23 Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.
24 Avoid all perverse talk; stay away from corrupt speech.
25 Look straight ahead, and fix your eyes on what lies before you.26 Mark out a straight path for your feet; stay on the safe path.27 Don’t get sidetracked; keep your feet from following evil. Prov 4:23-27 (NLT)
We need to guard our hearts and minds. An old computer expression was “garbage in – garbage out” – you need to have clean programming for the system to work properly. Sometimes its a matter of training and discipline. God has given us passages like this one to use as a guideline.
8 And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Phil 4:8-9 (NLT)
As for me, I am going to limit my time on Facebook. I will avoid the click-bait sites – even if there is something that looks wicked interesting! And stay away from political blah blah blah. I want to use my time wisely and protect my heart. Maybe you need to pray about your use of social media. I encourage you to use the verses above to help you gain a new perspective on Christian living today.