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?
Melissa K. Norris inspires people's faith and pioneer roots with her books, podcast, and blog. Melissa lives with her husband and two children in their own little house in the big woods in the foothills of the North Cascade Mountains. When she's not wrangling chickens and cattle, you can find her stuffing Mason jars with homegrown food and playing with flour and sugar in the kitchen.