Just the Facts

OK…I’m not a fan of Facebook. I have seen very little conversation there that is spiritually uplifting or even just plain positive. The feeds are filled with arguing, complaining, bickering, and foolishness.

People post things to get others to feel sorry for them, to seek support to right the injustices in their lives, or simply lie about situations. Here’s the cycle: someone rants, someone agrees, someone disagrees, then the people agreeing and disagreeing turn on each other and the fight is on. As believers in Christ, engaging in this type of behavior just isn’t scriptural…on so many levels.

The book of Proverbs warns all of us about something very dangerous with this type of behavior. Let’s look at Proverbs 18:17 (NLT). Here’s what it says:

The first to speak in court sounds right – until the cross examination begins.

In other words, there are two sides to every story. Folks who go out on Facebook with their tale of woe seldom provide all the facts. They provide the side of the story that supports their position. This is what Proverbs is talking about. Most stories sound believable until the cross examination begins. If we knew all the facts of the situation it would make us re-evaluate our thoughts and be ashamed of some of our public comments.

I spent many years of my life as a police officer. I was in court almost every week. When a defendant first took the stand to testify, the stories often sounded very good. It wasn’t until the cross examination took place that defendants were caught in lies. Witnesses took the stand and provided evidence that contradicted the defendant’s testimony. Now the judge had both sides of the story and the evidence.

Next time you read something on Facebook, ask yourself about the other side of the story. If you don’t have all the facts, not the hearsay, don’t engage in discussions like this. They are divisive and certainly don’t model Godly character. Participating in discussions like this is gossip.

Here’s a thought…get off Facebook entirely and do something productive with the time that God has given you. Before we open Facebook for the day let’s instead open our Bibles and hear what God has to say. God doesn’t speak in status updates and we can’t expect to grow spiritually by spending our time there.

They Really Said That?

The world is full of gossip…it’s everywhere. It’s not just at work anymore. With the use of social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, gossip has spread like wildfire.

Eventually, someone is going to talk about you in a way that hurts and they most likely will not do it to your face. It may be something they say to a friend who just needs to make sure they tell you. It may be something they say on social media. Face it…it’s going to happen to you. Your first instinct might be to get revenge but we know that is not a Biblical response.

So how do you handle the drama and gossip in a Biblical way?

First, when someone wants to gossip to you about someone else tell them you’re not interested. I can tell you this…people who gossip about others to you will gossip about you to others.

What does scripture say about gossip? It says a lot! Here are three verses that address the issue of gossip:

Proverbs 20:19 says:

A gossip goes around telling secrets, so don’t hang around with chatterers.

Ephesians 4:29 says:

Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.

How do you handle it when someone is talking about you? Let’s look at Matthew 18.

If another believer sins against you, go privately and point out the offense. If the other person listens and confesses it, you have won that person back.

Sometimes people tell me this scripture doesn’t apply because no sin was committed. However, it’s usually the gossipers who say this. I think it’s very clear from the verses I just spoke about that gossip is sin.

So, dealing with drama and gossip is pretty straightforward in scripture. Proverbs makes it simple…don’t hang around with gossips. Second, if someone does gossip about you, go to them and follow the Matthew 18 principle. You might be surprised how much can be accomplished by talking with someone face to face.

It’s pretty evident that God dislikes gossip. Run from it, don’t be a part of it. Instead, as we read in Ephesians, Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.

Hey…I Got Another Like!

I was talking with a young lady not long ago and here is what she told me. She said that she had a lot of work to do but thought she would just go check Facebook before starting her work. She laughed and said that before she knew it she had spent several hours on Facebook. She still had all her work to do and had wasted several valuable hours.

A report from Bloomberg that was released last week gave these statistics:

  • Facebook revenue is now at $2.91 billion.
  • Facebook has 1.32 billion active users.
  • Facebook says that the average user spends 40 minutes every day checking Facebook.

Many Facebook users also have Instagram accounts. Business Insider recently reported that the average Instagram user spends 21 minutes a day checking their accounts.

Many folks today don’t limit their social media experience to only these two platforms. Many folks also have Twitter, Snapchat, and Pinterest accounts. However, let me give you the benefit of the doubt and say that you only use Facebook and Instagram.   The average user is spending one hour each day on only these two social media platforms.

What could you do with an extra 7 hours of time every week? You could spend more time with God, your spouse, your children, reading your bible, exercising, or maybe just relaxing a bit.

Sometimes I think we have become tangled in this social media time trap. What problems have you actually solved on social media? What solutions have sprung from your time on Facebook? How have you grown spiritually on social media? Am I saying that you should leave your social media accounts? Of course not…that’s your call. But I am saying go figure out if you are wasting time there. Keep a log for the next week and see how many hours you are spending on social media. On that same log, keep an account of the problems you have solved and solutions developed during those hours.

You might be surprised by what you find and make a change. A change that will provide more time in your life to focus on issues that really make a difference for your life and the lives of those you love.