Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” (NIV)
Facebook is a wonderful way of communicating with family & friends, especially if there are great distances which separate us from our loved ones. For instance, this morning I’m enjoying messages and photos from my Scottish relatives and friends who are on vacation in different parts of the world – Greece, Germany, Spain, Australia, Hawaii, and South Africa. I feel connected to what they are doing wherever they are, so I am thankful for Facebook giving me this instant opportunity to vicariously experience what my family & friends are presently enjoying in faraway places.
Facebook, however, can also be an atrocious way of communicating bad ideas, false information, and untruthful posts. There is no doubt in my mind, that malicious people are trying to manipulate the hearts and minds of many innocent and naïve folks on Facebook. Vanity quizzes and heart-wrenching photos are devilishly being used to pull people in so that their private information can be captured and used for nefarious purposes. For instance, how many of us have had requests to be friends with strangers or from people we are already friends with on Facebook? These occur when our friends innocently pass on false propaganda or allow other Facebook pages to use their personal information (read the small print, folks).
As I’ve said from the pulpit on several occasions, I am greatly disappointed when I see our own church folks post something that is obviously untrue or comes from a highly questionable source. It means my friends and parishioners are being used as pawns for clandestine groups who just want to spread division and disrupt the bonds of friendship, faith, and love that we hold dear. Perhaps if we were all to write out today’s highlighted Bible verse and stick it to our computers, we wouldn’t be so naïve about what we post or pass on.
It’s very important that we as Christians, of all people, should not pass on false posts. Why? Because Christ tells us we will be judged for our words – “But I tell you that everyone will have to give an account on judgment day for every careless word they communicate” (Matthew 12:36) – which includes our false Facebook posts or even our untrue tweets! However, if we have made a mistake, then it is easily rectified – we can delete the false post immediately, showing that we actually care about who we are and what we say.
Folks, enjoy Facebook for the wonderful connections it gives us, but if you are going to post something controversial, research it first and ask yourself: Is it true? Can it be authentically verified? Is it kind? And, most important of all – will Christ commend or judge me for these words?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, we live in wonderful times and we thank You for all of the amazing ways we can communicate and connect with one another all over the world. Help us to use this technology wisely, faithfully, and truthfully. In Your Holy Name, we humbly pray. Amen.