Monday, December 21, 2009

Slapped In The Facebook

I realize we are living in the age of “electronic socialism”. Everyone has a cell phone and most people text. The intrigue of having a personal “website” through myspace, facebook, etc., where you can tell all your business (good & bad), is on the rise.

When I was growing up, if you had one Television in your house – you were considered well off. We made a big jump from the old TV antenna & rabbit ears, to cable. Suddenly, having a television in just one room wasn’t enough. We then installed televisions in our bedrooms, family rooms, living rooms, kitchens & yes, some even have them in their bathrooms. Our kids today wouldn’t know how to act if they didn’t each own their own TV.

The day of personal computers arrived on the scene in the mid 80’s with a flood of “I have to have one!” Everyone went out and bought a computer and by the late 90’s and early 2000’s every home had at least one. Those original computers are now sitting in garages and flea markets across America and have been replaced with laptops (as thin as a pencil box) that we can travel with on planes, trains & automobiles in our briefcases.

Fast forward – now we don’t just have one computer in our house – every member of the family has to own their own computer (with Internet access) while we each sit in front of our own flat screen TV.

So here’s the picture. Sitting on the couch, with our laptop in one lap, our cell phone in one hand, our mp3 player in one ear and the TV remote in the other hand. – Truly we have become TECHNOLOGY ADDICTS.

We are truly in an amazing day of technology. Guess what? I love technology.
I love the fact that when I press send on this email it will travel the virtual highway and reach hundreds – faster than I can blink. I love the fact that I can text message my family, friends and colleagues a message to say, “hello”, “in a meeting – call you later”, “thought for the day”, “meeting cancelled”, etc.

When is too much, too much?

A couple of years ago, I tackled the dangers of “MySpace” and made a whole lot of people angry. I was laughed at, ridiculed, misjudged and the topic of many conversations. I look back now and laugh, because it’s amazing how upset people get when you start dealing with their apparent abuse or lack of etiquette when utilizing social networks, such as “MySpace” or “Facebook.”

I for one am not opposed to technology or the use of social networks. What I am opposed to is the seemingly lack of wisdom that is displayed by frequent users.

This is my perspective – I was raised to believe that you didn’t do anything that would let your good be evil spoken of. (Romans 14:16) In other words, you made sure you kept your slate clean and you walked openly before all men with a chaste conversation and a visible testimony that is patterned after Christ.

Grant it I was raised in an extreme religious environment, where even wearing a pair of shorts supposedly could send you to Hell. (in a hand basket, I might add. ) And yet, even though I was raised in such a strict culture, I still managed to retain some common sense when it comes to keeping my testimony free and clear. I think Apostle Paul was referring to this when he said we shouldn’t use our liberty as an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another (Galatians 5:13).

Common sense is all that is needed when utilizing today’s social networks. I believe we will give an account for every idle word that proceeds out of our mouth (Matthew 12:36) or even through our Facebook posting.

Recently, I was asked to view some comments that were posted on Facebook. Frankly, I was shocked and intrigued at the same time. The ability to share your thoughts (some so personal, that Angels would blush) and to connect with friends or groups of people. Yes, this is quite a progressive way of connecting with people and I even see its value in spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ to a world that it socially connected through technology.

However, what I witnessed more of than anything was a whole lot of idle chatter, loose talk, careless use of “bywords”, and so forth. Married men, leaving comments on married women’s accounts. Women posing with a picture of themselves, with their lips pooched out and all their cleavage showing and their hind end protruding – talk about trashy, invalidated, and desperate!
I thought to myself: “Do people have nothing better to do with their time, then to sit on the computer and talk about how hungry they are?; who their upset with?; pass out insults/put downs?; ask open ended questions, that they already know the answer to, just to get a reaction?; make statements about how they don’t know if they’re going to make it – depressed, down, broke, angry, bitter?; make comments about churches?; get jabs in at people?”
If you’re married and have children, what kind of example is this to your kids? Where do you have time to even be on the computer that much, if you’re raising wholesome, God-fearing, children? In fact, if you’re married or even single – do you want your reputation to be the “easy lady?” Do you want to be known as a man who is viewed as a womanizer and a fornicator?

And did I mention the “bywords”? For those of you have no idea of what I’m talking about – let me explain: a byword is an alternate word you use for a perceived “bad” word or even a “cuss” word.

For example, I was never allowed to use the word “heck” because my parents said that using that word sounded too much like the word “hell” when it was used in a sentence. (i.e., Heck yeah! or What the heck?) (you can smile if you want to – I don’t talk like that – I’m merely giving an example.)

There are several words I feel should be avoided from the lips of a born-again believer. Our everyday words should be a reflection of our everyday conversation with our Lord. Over time, your vernacular changes and the Holy Spirit within you replaces old “bywords” with new “wholesome” words.

It’s amazing the words I’ve seen used on Facebook or Myspace by Christians. What’s even more amazing is the words I’ve even heard preachers use while their preaching or carrying on a conversation.
  • Example: Sucks, darn, shoot, heck, pissed off, dang, crap, jacked up, etc. (This language is not necessary and it certainly isn’t professional.)
Again, we don’t have to talk like we just drank out of Hell’s toilet – just to be culturally relevant. We don’t have to CUSS in the pulpit or on Myspace/Facebook just because we feel we have “liberty in Christ” to express ourselves. We should do our best to avoid bywords. Especially words that cause people to question the purity of our heart.

EVERYTHING YOU TYPE ON MYSPACE AND FACEBOOK – can and will be used against you! In fact, it could hinder you from being hired on a job. It could hinder you from future ministry. It could hinder your testimony years from now when people look back and see what type of language you were using and how “loose” you talked with your friends on LIVE INTERNET about subjects that shouldn’t even be discussed in the open.

How people perceive you – is how they receive you.

Let me encourage you today to clean up your Myspace/Facebook and get rid of the unnecessary language. Remove people from your list who talk nasty, cuss and have no positive influence in your life. You’re better off making the break, especially in your close circle of friends. Surround yourself with people who are going to pour into your life blessing. You’re not being rude by keeping your path clear from unnecessary junk that will ultimately wear you down and destroy your testimony.

Consider yourself a LEADER for the Lord and ask yourself: “Would my spiritual father speak this way?”

Imagine in your mind, right now, the person you have the most respect for in the entire world. The next time you type something on Myspace/Facebook – consider the person you’re thinking of right now…could you see them saying this?

If not, you probably shouldn’t say it, text it or type it.

If I were at your house, looking at your computer, would I be “Slapped in the Facebook” by what I saw?