This is a follow-up in a short (perhaps even shorter than a standard “mini,” I have no idea exactly where I’m taking this at this point) series of facebook related posts. Some folks have opted to shut down their facebook accounts for good reasons. Yet others simply argue against its use just because of its misuse: it has caused many problems and allowed people to sin against one another more easily. But I don’t stop celebrating Xmas because of the Lexus commercials and rampant materialism (which is still present in my heart) accompanied with Xmas. Instead we hope to let Christ redeem it.
On one hand, the internet is a wonderful tool which has helped increase community and get God’s word out, in addition to often re-creating a cyber-community and allowing porn to become so mainstream. The solution is to redeem it by allowing Christ to reign even over the facebook section of our lives. As a result, facebook should supplement (not replace) community, encourage (not tear down) one another, and help us connect (not disconnect) with one another. I’ll start with a few ways in which I’ve seen facebook be quite helpful.
1.) Prayer. Because it allows you to recognize people’s needs so quickly, it allows you to pray immediately, and specifically. There is nothing wrong with a short “on-the-spot” prayer. In fact, God honors prayers like that, so you don’t need to pray for hours to get his attention. Facebook can actually enhance your prayer life and bless others.
2.) Encouragement. When you see someone’s need posted, you can offer brief words of encouragement. It is an easy way (again it is not a substitute for actually talking to them at church or a phone call if necessary) to encourage them when separated by time and space. Loneliness in a struggle only makes that struggle harder. Even commenting on posts which don’t express needs still communicates that someone else is interested in his/her life and shares his/her joys in addition to his/her sorrows.
3.) Scripture. Sometimes folks will put up a brief scripture verse or passage that will really “hit the spot.” The other day a “friend” (who is also a dear friend) quoted Psalm 91, my all time favorite Psalm, that I relied upon so heavily when my depression/anxiety was at its zenith. Those little scripture posts can be extremely timely for many, and Gods’ Word is living and active, and it doesn’t return void, even when simply posted.
4.) Care. Because a church member recently posted a “mini-tragedy” (hotwater tank explosion) many folks actually reached out and made calls to check and see if help was needed. So this cyber-community actually fostered real local ministry.
These are just a few ways in which facebook can be redeemed. My next attempt will be to list some ways in which I think we should not use facebook.