My friend Josh Wood shared this article on facebook (ironic, I know), and it was just another reminder to me about how tempting it can be for those of us in the Church to be as bad as the Pharisees at setting up rules and hoops to jump through.
My wife does not have my facebook password, though I know hers unless she has changed it since I set up her account for it. I honestly don’t know if she has, since I never us it to keep tabs on her. Our relationship is built on trust, and I love her enough to trust her with her own account. She is a big girl. I think the church in question has bigger issues if so many of its people are using facebook to flirt with old flames. Facebook is just a symptom here, not the root disease. It is easier to treat the symptoms, though, so let’s bad facebook. Right. This is just the short sighted vision that gives the Church in general a bad name, and a reputation as Pharisaical. Great.
A healthier approach is to counsel families on what they can do to build stronger marriages, and more godly lives. I have been friends with both of my ex-girlfriends on facebook for a while. Joy knows this, and also knows that there is no temptation for me in this. Neither of them is the least bit interesting to me in any romantic way. If there was, I would be smart enough to filter my interaction with them. Also, since Joy and I are friends, she can see all of my activity and see what is posted on my wall if she wants. I don’t keep secrets from her in this way.
How can the Church support men and women in this area? Banning facebook is not the way. This doesn’t help to purify the thoughts of the people involved. The men and women tempted in this way will find other ways to be tempted. The key is to give tools to overcome this temptation. God promises us that there will be a way out when we are tempted. At McBIC, one of our pastors, John King, has started a mens group where guys can discuss the temptations we face, and help each other maintain pure thoughts and actions that are consistent with the life that Christ calls us to. Is it still possible to fall? Of course. But by providing tools to live life amidst the temptation, we can enjoy the benefits of technology, like the online community of brothers who can support me and check in on how I’m doing. This is the good side of facebook. I see posts from friends who love me, pray for me, and remind me of the purity of thought, heart, and deed that I really desire.
Let’s not be Pharisees who throw out the good in things because something could go wrong. Let us take advantage of every tool God allows us to have, while guarding our hearts and minds, and taking every thought captive to obedience to Christ. That sounds much better to me!