How to Keep God on Facebook

I read a recent statistic that 85% of people have been frustrated by their friends on Facebook. We won’t discuss the Facebook meaning of “friends” here, but I have to tell you I am among that 85%.

 

I have made some awesome new friends on social media and reconnected with old ones. I’ve seen people band together in prayer and support worthy causes. I have truly seen God work through Facebook for His glory.

Where there is great opportunity for goodness, there is great opportunity for evil.

I have also read things people should be ashamed of. Things I’m surprised they’d admit, let alone announce publically.

I generally stay away from the passive aggressive status updates. The ones where they don’t put a person’s name, but launch into a tirade and end with, you know who you are. I’ve always stood by if you won’t say it to the person’s face or on the phone, then you shouldn’t say it on Facebook.

Until last week. Someone who has caused extreme stress and emotional damage to close members of my family, continues to egg on the drama via Facebook. I didn’t comment for weeks, but I couldn’t take it anymore.

Being a writer, I know how to use words. And I gave this person the nicest dressing down you can give without using mean words. You know, the southern version of saying whatever you want as long as it’s followed by “bless your heart.”

And then my husband read what I’d wrote.

He said, “You said you never get drawn into these sort of personal things on Facebook. You said these things should be dealt with personally.”

“But did you see what they wrote?”

“Yes,” he answered, “and it was bad enough without you answering back.”

I folded my arms across my chest. Heat filled my cheeks. “But I was right.”

Being right doesn’t mean you’re in the right. 

For days this incident haunted me. I went back and reread the posts. My hands sweat and hot indignation swells in my chest every time.

“Lord, I’m right. They’re wrong. Look at the hurt they caused,” I cry.

On my way to church I knew I should forgive them. The Bible’s pretty clear, 70 times 7 we are to forgive.

I finally said, “Lord, I don’t want to forgive them.”

That is true.

I don’t want to do the right thing, the Christ like thing. I wanted to hold my hurt and anger around me so I can lash it back at the person who caused it. Because they deserve it.

Except, if I want Jesus to live in me, then I have to let Him shine through. He can’t shine through if I’m holding onto unforgiveness.

Despite my clenched hands, I prayed for God to soften my heart towards this person. I prayed His Holy Spirit would touch their life.

And I felt Him whisper, you didn’t deserve my Son to die on the cross for your sins, but I did it anyway.

Before I comment on anything again, I’ll ask myself, what if this was the only comment someone read by you? Would it show them Jesus?

I did unfriend this person. Every time I read their words, unforgiveness festers in my heart.

Removing sources of sin from your life is something we all need to do. 

If you encounter this, I urge you to pray for the person and yourself first. But if they continually upset you, why are you friends with them?

Has anyone ever upset you on Facebook or social media? How do you handle it? Have you ever seen God work on social media?

This post is featured on The Better Mom Link-Up and Titus Tuesdays.

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Comments

  1. says

    It’s so much easier to “say” something online than in-person, so Facebook is the perfect place for people to vent. I’ve started disabling certain negative-nancies from showing up on my newsfeed. They aren’t so bad that I want to “un-friend” them, but I catch myself judging every time I read an update. Sometimes it’s just better to avoid the situation all-together. What a great reminder to be Christ-like in our words to others!!

    • Melissa Norris says

      Kristen, you’re right, it is easier to “say” something online, we feel safer with our keyboards between us. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your words of wisdom. :)

  2. says

    Melissa, I have been on both ends! I am sure I have “said” things that hurt, and I know I have received the hurt. I think there comes a time to discern when to “let go” and not give in to the temptation of using social media to see into other’s lives. Facebook is not the real person. I have had to choose letting certain people “go” because their social media face proved a stumbling block to me. Thanks for sharing this. It’s a reminder of how influential our words can be. Choose carefully.

    • Melissa Norris says

      Wise words, to chose carefully. I struggled with what way to go on this, but the verse I kept coming back to was “iron sharpens iron” and in this situation, had to let the person go. Discernment, may God give us each more of it. Thanks, Kristen!

  3. says

    Thanks for sharing so honestly, Melissa! I know this struggle, but love the reminder to love as Jesus loved. He did speak the truth- and sometimes we need to be brave enough to speak it as well- but He always spoke with love- and when we are angry or frustrated, we can be pretty sure our words will reflect the attitudes of our hearts. Oh, it is a tough balance- knowing when to speak and when to stay silent- especially when our loved ones are the ones who are being hurt (oh, I am such a mama-bear!!!).

    • Melissa Norris says

      Becky, I love that you’re a mama-bear! I am, too. :)
      Speaking or staying silent can both be powerful, when we know which one to choose. I’m praying for God’s guidance, even when my heart wants to rebel. I appreciate your insight.

  4. says

    thank you for this post. I have had to block people on my friends list because everytime I read what they said it would bring such negative thoughts to my mind, which I don’t want to deal with. I have always found it interesting the thing that people think it is ok to put on Facebook.

    • Melissa Norris says

      I’m with you, Andrea. I have to wonder where their common sense is, let alone their moral compass.

  5. says

    Powerful words. We never stop learning the lesson of forgiveness and pride. The hardest thing to do is NOT respond. But it’s usually the most effective thing. Responding usually backfires. I speak from personal experience.

    • Melissa Norris says

      Jan, thanks for sharing. I’m a talker, a wordsmith, and not responding is hard for me, but you’re so correct when you say it is the best thing. Pride is a nasty thing God is continually schooling me on. :)

  6. says

    Totally agree with you! I am always trying to remember not to say it if I wouldn’t say it with the person sitting there. Of course, that goes for FB! It’s weird the disconnect that can happen while typing. I have written many things and as I read before I pressed the send button, I have had to delete or edit. Thankful for the Holy Spirit in that way. I also have deleted or hidden certain people. I realized one person (not their fault) was posting and it was causing me to be jealous and frustrated all the time! I simply hid them and when I wanted to check out what’s up, I read it. Silly how we forget we can edit our lives that way on fb and in “real life”. I do love being able to encourage and pray for people through FB and certainly, if we keep our minds on God, FB can be used for good! Thanks for a great post, one that can open up our eyes and keep us close to Him!

    • Melissa Norris says

      Thanks for sharing, Gretchen. I can’t count how many times I’ve prayed for people on FB, typed the whole thing out in the comment section. I would have never been able to do that for some people without social media. We just have to remember to guard ourselves against the other. And edit away! Like you wisely put, something we should always be doing, in real life and virtually.

  7. says

    I love this post, Melissa!

    Your handling of the Facebook situation is a perfect modern-day example of forgiveness without trust or reconciliation. You forgave the person, but still found it necessary to “unfriend” them on FB, in order to have peace in your life.

    I posted recently about a biblical example where David did essentially the same thing in his relationship with King Saul. Here’s the link, if you’d like to read it: http://josephjpote.com/2012/05/forgiveness-with-boundaries/

    Thanks for the great post!

    • Melissa Norris says

      Thanks, Joe. I never realized the similarities between the two. You helped me feel even more at peace about this. I enjoyed your article and the way you made it personable.
      Sometimes people find it hard to relate to the Old Testament, but there’s so much pertinent information there. Thanks for bringing it alive.

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