And take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17
Volume 16, Number
In this issue:
Joe R. Price
[Reprint and Revision from The Spirit’s Sword (XIII:26), 01Aug10]
Facebook (FB) is a social networking website that connects over 1 billion people worldwide. (When this was written in 2010 the number was 500 million; a doubling in 3.5 years). Many Christians have FB pages (including this writer). As with most other things, FB can be a benefit to or blight upon one’s spiritual life. Please carefully consider your use of FB (or any other social networking site) to see if you have chosen to be God’s friend (Jno. 15:14).
Faith on Facebook. Some brethren are using FB as an effective tool to advance the gospel of Christ. I know brethren who post daily Scripture readings, spiritual songs with comments, and regular Bible study articles. Some post links to Bible study material and their congregation’s website. (You are invited to read and use Sword Tips, a daily posting on my FB page.) There are Bible study groups on FB, too. All of this shows FB can be a great tool to help you spread the gospel and have a godly influence for truth and righteousness. We commend such efforts to you, and urge you to test them all by God’s word.
Folly on Facebook. Sadly, there is also a great deal of sin and spiritual danger on FB. Christians are not immune to these temptations. Pride and arrogance, anger and hate, gossip and backbiting, immodesty and profanity – all these and more are among the sins posted on FB for the whole world to see and be a “friend”.
Much of the chatter on FB amounts to “thinking out loud” and “TMI” (too much information!). That is not always a good thing (especially with 1 billion people “listening”). And don’t kid yourself; strangers are only a couple of mouse clicks away from every word and every picture you post. After all, the “www” means just that: the World Wide Web! What you post on FB goes around the world in a split second. And, it is out there forever. Yes, you can erase postings (and some should), but somebody has already seen it, possibly saved it, or forwarded it on to others.
Why is social networking sites like FB so popular? What makes people post things on FB they would not otherwise say or do? What are some of the follies of FBWhyoHowWhat are ?
1) FB presents a false sense of freedom from accountability. Typing away on a keyboard can lull you into thinking that whatever you write and post is just “keeping it real” and that you are “just being yourself” – and “that’s always a good thing”. Well, not if the “words of (your) mouth and the meditation of (your) heart” are not acceptable to God (Psa. 19:14).
Some things should neither be thought nor spoken (Matt. 12:35). Jesus said, “every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned” (Matt. 12:36-37). That goes for FB postings, too.
2) FB offers an apparent removal of moral restraints. I’m not sure whether FB gives one the feeling that moral restraints do not apply when posting, or if the postings on FB indicate that one’s moral restraints have already been removed. Probably both. Either way, the result is sin and disgrace. Photos of Christians immodestly dressed provocatively display attitudes of worldliness. But as Christians, we are not to love the world (1 Jno. 2:15-17). FB reveals what one loves.
Christians must deny ungodliness and worldly lusts and live “soberly, righteously and godly in this present world” (Titus 2:12). FB shows that some Christians are failing to use moral restraint in their words and deeds. FB offers a tempting “escape” from the restraints of morality imposed by the gospel. Brother or sister in Christ, if you are on FB be sure your speech is pure and your photos are decent! And, require that those who post on your page are, too. We should have a zero tolerance here. Delete the offensive postings and remove “friends” who are indecent. Guard your influence well (1 Cor. 15:33; Prov. 22:1).
3) FB holds up privacy to public display and discussion. The decorum of decency and privacy is gone. It is self-evident that some things discussed on FB ought to remain private. In addition, manners and common courtesy should be hallmarks of Christians; instead, they seem to be ancient relics. Plus, some of the things on FB are, frankly, mundane. Who in the world is interested that I “ate my Wheaties” for breakfast or that I am “headed to bed”? God’s word says, “He who has knowledge spares his words, and a man of understanding is of a calm spirit. Even a fool is counted wise when he holds his peace; When he shuts his lips, he is considered perceptive” (Prov. 17:27-28). It may well be time for some Christians to sign off of FB and at least be “considered perceptive”.
4) FB provides the perfect venue for those without tongue control. Please don’t misunderstand. I am not saying if you are on FB then you have no tongue control. We are saying that FB makes it easy to exercise “loose lips” (or in this case, loose fingers). All kinds of disruptions, distortions, evil surmising, gossip and rumor mongering has found its way onto FB. And that means these sins have already found their way into the hearts, motives, attitudes, language and conduct of those who post such destructive words. Instead of carefully choosing words, FB makes it easy to post before you think. And, that gets you into trouble. Great forest fires begin with a small spark (Jas. 3:5). Don’t light the match; Post the truth in love (Eph. 4:15).
5) FB lends itself to mindless chatter – and worse. As someone who writes for public consumption and criticism in this bulletin, I am aware of the effect and the reach of the written word. Once written and published, words can do much good or great harm. I try to be thoughtful and careful with what and how I write, knowing my words will outlive me. FB and other similar sites, along with email, texting, etc. make it very easy to thoughtlessly write without considering the consequences. Mothers used to tell their daughters not to write anything in their diary they didn’t want others to read. Now, everyone’s diary is open for all to read on FB.
If you ridicule someone you have become unloving and arrogant. If you post profanity and join in coarse joking, you have lowered yourself to join the world in the sewer of vulgarity (Eph. 4:29; 5:3-4). If you post unfounded rumors, malicious gossip and tale bearing you have left the fertile land of brotherly love and crossed over into the wasteland of bitterness and malice (Eph. 4:31-32).
6) FB can consume your time. We must be good stewards of our time (Eph. 5:16). FB can become addicting, stealing away hours of productivity in school, at work and in the kingdom of Christ.
The next time you feel the urge to post a message to a friend, that’s fine. But why not also call them up and have a voice to voice conversation? I’m sure they would love to hear your voice (now that’s a novel idea, Prov. 27:17).
A word to parents. Do you know what your child is posting on FB? If not, find out. You wouldn’t let your child bring a stranger into your home with your knowledge and permission, would you? Then do not let your children indiscriminately bring strangers into their lives on FB. Adolescents are still developing and are not yet able to completely assess the consequences of every action. Do not be naďve and do not make assumptions. Get the facts. Knowing what your child is doing on FB (internet) is vital to help you bring up your child in the training of the Lord (Eph. 6:4; Prov. 22:6).
Wrong is Always Wrong
Scripture Reading: Job 31:1-4
1. God has given us a
divine standard to determine right and wrong, 2 Tim. 3:16; Prov. 15:3; Heb.
I. WRONG IS WRONG EVEN IF...
A. It Is Legal. Rom. 13:1; Mk. 6:17-18;
Acts 5:29; Prov. 14:12.
(Current events in the light of Scripture)
Maybe. Nuclear fusion-power is the fusing of two lighter atomic nuclei into one heavier nucleus, which releases a comparatively large amount of power. The goal is to do so in a controlled, sustainable environment so the released energy can be harnessed for human use. The sun is an example of fusion power.
Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy have conducted an experiment that produced a fusion reaction for a split second (“A Star is Born: U.S. Scores Fusion-Power Breakthrough”, The Wall Street Journal, 12Feb14). It required using “the world’s most powerful laser” to accomplish the split-second success. Being able to sustain the fusion reaction is proving to be an even bigger, and as yet, unsolvable challenge.
The cost has been enormous. “The latest experiment was done at Lawrence Livermore's National Ignition Facility, or NIF. The California facility—a 10-story building the size of three football fields—was built at a cost of $3.5 billion and became operational in 2009. It has since cost hundreds of millions of dollars to operate.” (Ibid)
Remember the sun? Continuous fusion power. Many say it and the stars just randomly appeared by natural forces over billions of years. In contrast, it has taken man’s combined intelligence thousands of years to invent a split-second event that continuously occurs on the sun. It has cost billions of dollars, laser beams, magnets and all sorts of scientific calculations. It did not “just happen”. It also defies reason to think the sun and stars “just happened”. They declare the glory and handiwork of God (Psa. 19:1). Their very existence brings us to our knees in honor of Almighty God and compels us to raise our voices in praise of His matchless wisdom and power (Rom. 1:20; Psa. 148). It is the fool who says there is no God (Psa. 14:1).
Created by Chuck Sibbing, last updated. 02/16/2014
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA