Thursday, July 1, 2010

Lighting Up Social Networks

Last week we reflected on how God's Word applies to the current challenges of social networking, specifically "Facebook & Faithfulness." Asking questions about how we use this new power stirs up strong feelings from those on both sides of the "share" button. The internet gives the common guy or gal potential to reach around the globe with ideas and opinions. I think that's the word that resonates with me when I think of social networking: "potential"

We're trying to figure out how to respond when we read comments about personal relationships, marriages, divorces, friendships, families, purchases, church life, entertainment choices, lifestyle habits, humanitarian needs, and conflicts. Suddenly we're called on to make decisions about what we read from people we know. We feel a sense of responsibility to respond well. I once heard it said that, "Silence is agreement," so we feel that doing nothing and saying nothing is akin to approving of what we read. But is Facebook the best place to confront sin or declare our personal convictions? When we become aware of indiscretions made public through a social network, are we accountable to respond? Is it ok to zip off a scolding "on a virtual wall" and feel we've done "what Jesus would do?"

Last week we tried to catch the "glowing tail end" ;) of the synchronized lightning bug display in Elkmont, Smoky Mountains. We've seen it before, and it's truly remarkable. Go here and here to see just a suggestion of how amazing this natural phenomenon is. Imagine the impact of a forest of fireflies all shining their lights, so darkness is penetrated by the collective glow. When they all use their potential to shine light together, they change a pervasive darkness into a bright wonderland where all is exposed. Unfortunately, our family missed this year's show. The "window" of opportunity closed, and the lightning bugs died. The forest was dark without the filling of the many individual lights.

Christians all have a light to shine, too. Matt. 5:16 "In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven." Potential? Yes. Potential to shine ... even on Facebook, around the globe, in an awesome display of light that penetrates darkness and causes the world to wonder.

How are you handling darkness you may encounter on social networks and the internet?

5 COMMENTS ~ Click here to leave a COMMENT:

Ann said...

Great post Julie and so very true.

There was this one occasion I did say something to one of my friends, of course out of love. They had posted things that really could be taken the wrong way and I reminded them of that. In the end they thanked me for telling them.

By the way our family joined an amazing church yesterday! We had been searching for a church for over 2 years. God remained faithful and brought us though!

Crystal Roberts said...

Much food for thought here. I am on FB and I really try to watch who is on my friends list, so I am not so sure if I have the ability to witness to many through it, however, there are a few friends who need the Lord, thank you for this post. It is also interesting to note there were headlines in my area (New York) where a lawyers were using a womans facebook page against her in court in regard to her divorce and custody hearings. The point being we need to be faithful and careful in all things!

******Shelly****** said...

Great post and soooo true....I get disappointed (alot) in the things I view on status updates on fb. I try to use mine as a ministry tool as well as a way to reflect a life lived for Jesus, with no exception (but being REAL). We definitely must be faithful diligent, and alert and know that our adversary, the devil, prowls about like a lion, seeking someone to devour (I Peter 5:8).

I actually just posted yesterday that I am taking a one month (much needed) break from fb. We must be sensitive to know when God is calling us away from distractions (good and bad) and closer to Him.

Have a happy weekend! :)

CardDolphin said...

Thank you for posting this. Whenever I come across something concerning posted by on Facebook, I usually do one of 2 things, neither of which are "public".

If I feel the person will receive my concern well, I express it in a private message. There have been many times I've been thanked for my concern. In the other instances when I sense that the person may not be open to my concerns, I simply add them to my personal prayer time. God knows what's going on so much better than what shows up on the person's Facebook wall. :-)

Julie@comehaveapeace said...

These are such good insights. Sometimes we might need to "declare a break," and I love the ideas for using a personal message or personal prayer time to respond to what we read/see.