I will be the first to admit it ... I probably spend way too much time on Facebook. I somehow justify it by saying that it connects me to people or that it is part of my ministry. But the truth of the matter is this: most of the time, Facebook is a waste of my time! In the midst of wasting time on Facebook, I have noticed an alarming trend of less than honorable behavior. And so, in order to justify in some small way my Facebook compulsion, I have decided to write the 7 Commandments for Facebook Behavior!
Don’t run and hide ... read on ....
Commandment #1 - Facebook is not a place to correct people. If correction is necessary, it should always happen face to face and heart to heart. Perhaps this should be the scripture that guides our responses on Facebook: “Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God ...” - I Peter 4:11. Wow! That scripture will take some hot air out of our sails. Don’t talk unless God told you to say it. You can only say it if you are 400% sure that God would say it. Even then, God probably wouldn’t say it on Facebook. Just sayin’.
Commandment #2 - Just because someone doesn’t write on your wall for 2 weeks or daily respond to every little comment that you make, it doesn’t mean that they don’t like you. Don’t take it personal. It’s not. Facebook is not personal ... it is public.
Commandment #3 - We all have opinions but is Facebook really the place that you want to share those opinions? Some opinions are for the privacy of your own home not for the very public walls of some mindless social media space like Facebook. Quit pontificating, reverberating, prognosticating and bellyaching and just be a blessing. I find that if I am too quick to share an opinion on Facebook what happens is that I alienate people whom I really do love.
Commandment # 4 - Don’t be gross. Use a little bit of reserve. Do you really want people to know that your baby pooped ... your dog vomited on your new rug ... your underwear is too tight and your husband drools and snores while he sleeps? Listen ... you wouldn’t burp in public without being embarrassed. Facebook is not your opportunity to burp without saying, “Excuse me!”
Commandment # 5 - Don’t respond to someone else’s posts by being argumentative or by being offended. If you want to enter into a productive conversation concerning an issue, call the person on the phone and sincerely share your heart with them in a kind and reasonable fashion. Or perhaps, having coffee together and meeting face-to-face might help you realize that this person is not your Facebook enemy but just another pilgrim on a journey. Or perhaps, you should keep your mouth (or in this case, your computer keyboard closed) and just pray. You will not solve all of the world’s problems by barking back on Facebook.
Commandment # 6 - Never send a private message that is filled with anger, criticism and judgement. I know women who have been the victim of cruel and vicious private messages through Facebook. Shame on all of us who falsely believe that just because it is private we can be savage and unprincipled. Grow up and be sweet. Just be sweet.
Commandment # 7 - Do not allow Facebook to replace the joy of relationships! Put your computer away and call a friend for a long overdue conversation. Send a tangible and lovely letter in the mail on beautiful stationery. Better yet ... have a lunch date and share some laughter. Gather some grown-up girls together in your own home and spend time in prayer and in encouraging one another. Suddenly ... you will all be saying, “Facebook Who?!!”
God wants you to be a blessing ... and that includes blessing all of your Facebook friends! If your heart’s desire is to change the world through a ministry on Facebook you might start by just being kind.
I have an idea ... if you have read this blog and in some small way agree with me ... let’s all post this scripture as our Facebook status for a day or two, “But encourage one another day after day, while it is still called today.” - Hebrews 3:13 It is a good reminder for all of us!