No, I’m not breaking up with a high school sweetheart. I’m not severing a troubled friendship. I’m saying goodbye to something that I have had an on-again, off-again relationship with: Facebook. This is a personal decision, not one that I encourage others to make without careful and prayerful consideration. But it is my decision nonetheless. Over the last few weeks, I have found myself increasingly frustrated with the global social empire and its intrusion into my life.
There are both spiritual and nonspiritual reasons for this decision. First, the nonspiritual. Facebook is greedy for my information. They want to use my information so that advertisers are able to target me with incredible specificity. Recently, Facebook asked for permission to use the contact database in my phone and to have unparalleled access to the functions of my phone. Facebook wanted to be in every aspect of my life. No. Thank. You.
But there are spiritual reasons as well. My prayer is that my struggles can encourage you, or at least give you something to think about in terms of your social media use.
I have noticed in my life a dangerous propensity toward pride. The Lord used Facebook to truly shine a light on it. I found myself posting and participating in an attempt to make more of myself while I should be making more of Christ. Pride is when I magnify myself instead of magnifying Jesus. When the ice bucket challenge was going on. I found myself motivated to participate, not by compassion, but by pride. I appears that I wasn’t the only one. It seems frequently, many people kept trying to use colder water, bigger buckets, more dangerous stunts to “outdo” the person who nominated them. One guy even posted a video of himself dumping liquid nitrogen over his head! Keep in mind, I can only judge my own heart and motives, not the motives of the millions of people who dumped ice water on their heads. However, in my judgment, I found pride lurking dangerously in the recesses of my heart.
I have also noticed a very critical spirit in my life. If you know me, you know that our government, politicians, and culture frustrate me greatly. I have found that social media provides a public forum for me to be super critical with people who are like-minded. Instead of praying for those in authority over us, we blast them on Facebook and cheer one another on while doing it. That doesn’t mean that I have become a fan of our politicians, but it does mean that I am trying to learn to pray for them before I level criticism against them.
I have also noticed that Facebook is becoming a place for argumentative people to argue without discernment or discretion. Keyboards and LCD screens give us a troubling sense of security and invincibility. Somebody posted publicly on Facebook a few weeks ago a rant against another driver who cut them off on Hwy. 154. They listed the vehicle description and the tag number in the rant. Did the poor driver make a mistake? Certainly. But I have a feeling that the complainer wouldn’t have had the same tone in a face-to-face conversation. I miss the good ol’ days – when you actually had to deal with real people to settle disputes rather than their electronic avatars.
I won’t be deleting my account as it is tied to our church’s Facebook page. That is still a meaningful way of engaging folks. But if you need me, feel free to email me, text me, call me, OR actually speak to me in person. I’m unplugging just a little bit. It may not work for you, but it is certainly the direction I need to go!