“To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, ‘If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free’ (John 8:31).”
I finally did it for good. I deactivated my Facebook account.
I had done it before. Once I unfriended everyone and THEN deactivated it.
One person thought they had offended me and wrote me. They hadn’t. I had just had it with Facebook.
However, not long after that “killing” of Facebook I activated it again and got new friends. Meet the new friends, same as the old friends.
This time I am serious though. Facebook just isn’t giving me any joy or fun. Indeed, it is doing the opposite.
I was reminded of this when I responded to a blog written by Tim Chailes, a pastor. He had written about what he calls “the lost sin of envy”. I wrote in his comments section:
Tim, this is great stuff. And as a blogger, I’m envious of you. (Just kidding–really.) U know where I got envious this week: looking at people I knew on Facebook from the old days, people whom I haven’t seen in 40 years. They looked happier than me, more prosperous, and so on. It did begin to rot my bones…. I think one of the faults of FB is its false sense of what’s true and real. Heck. I have no idea if those people are really happy or not.
Tim Chailes responded by giving me his link to his earlier blog post called Facebook Makes Us Miserable. In this piece Chailes notes that instead of making us happy as we intend it to, Facebook conjures up bad feelings when we see other people portray their successes.
What drove me to drop Facebook for good was a photo which included several people I knew. They were posing, showing off a successful activity of theirs.
I knew most of the people in that photo. In fact, except for what I deem an injustice I could have been with them.
There’s nothing really wrong with the people in the picture. I just didn’t care for some of the rottenness beneath it. I finally thought that then and there that it was time to say goodbye to Mark Zuckerberg’s fantasy land.
Facebook isn’t the only place filled with posers. Today I was on the bus and encountered two people that made my life tough this year.
One of those persons got on the bus and glanced at me and went on. The other never saw me, as they were riding by on a bicycle.
Both of these people had been dishonest in my dealings with them. When I exposed them, things got difficult for me.
In fact, the bus rider came out smelling like a rose in the community in which we participate. I, on the other hand, am on my way out of this group, having been forced out.
The alternative to constant musing about all these Facebook friends and other less than forthcoming people is to look to God. However, as Erwin Lutzer pointed out in a sermon to his church this year, this task can be daunting.
Pastor Lutzer decided to preach on this text:
One of the teachers of the lawcame and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”
“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’
Lutzer told his congregation that thinking about teaching on this Scripture sent him into what he called “emotional convulsions”. He told them why:
“I thought to myself, ‘this is an awesome passage of Scripture. Who in the world could love the Lord his God with all of his might, with all of his strength, and with all of his heart? That seems like an impossible dream.’ And I thought to myself,’I’d like to be able to love God like that’, but I looked within my heart and I saw coldness and indifference and thought “who could love God with such passion?’. It seemed impossible.”
I had those same feelings at the time I sought out Lutzer’s message. I had felt led to look at the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20) because I knew my bad feelings about the photos and messages on Facebook violated the last one:
“You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.” (v. 17)
However, as I looked them over I determined that I daily broke about half of them. Oh, I may not commit murder for example, and thus violate the sixth one seven days a week, but I sure get angry at people in my heart. Jesus equated the two (see Matthew 5:21-24).
Indeed, Jesus calls us to an even higher life than pure actions. He wants holy hearts as well.
Lutzer’s message added another disobeyed commandment to my already full portfolio. I learned from the pastor that I am committing idolatry when I value other people, things or circumstances above God. I sure do this a lot, too.
Thus, I have felt like the Chief of Posers this week and Facebook has contributed to that. Chailes says it all when he comments about our reactions to the messages we get from Facebook. We believe we are the only ones that are miserable when we view Facebook, and drag ourselves down. He writes:
“What a ridiculous lot we are. What a sad, jealous, envious, idolatrous lot.”
We believe the lie. And the world system we live in is indeed a lie.
It tells us that while we are looking at the loving Facebook couples that our marriages aren’t good enough. It communicates that we don’t measure up while we notice the old friend on a world tour. Yet, if truth be told, what I see on Facebook of other people’s lives is just an illusion, only part of the whole picture.
This constant lying in our midst should not surprise. Lying is the native tongue of Satan, the ruler of this world (John 8:44). We’re all just using our mother tongue.
I know I need to learn a new language: God’s truth. It’s main textbook is the Bible.
The Bible tells me who God, who I am and who other people are. It tells me what I am supposed to believe and to do.
I’m better off spending my time in the Bible than on Facebook, which Chailes tells us “sucking 700 billion minutes between the lot of us every month.” At least in the Scriptures I’ll learn the language of truth.