Wednesday, July 25, 2012

I'm Feeling MUCH Better, Now

Day four (or 3 and a half) of my Facebook fast, and I must admit... I'm already feeling better. I had no idea the extent of the negative toll it was taking on me.

The timing has been really amazing, because in our church's New Testament reading schedule, we're currently going through Paul's letters to Timothy. Young Timothy was a preacher, Paul's protoge, and a man who was prone to stomach problems and discouragement.


I've read I and II Timothy many times before, but never under the kind of stress I've been enduring lately. I've never read it when my heart has been so broken for friends, family and acquaintances who are caught up in the worldly deceptions of the last days. So when I re-read II Timothy Chapter 2 this afternoon, the words hit me square between the eyes. Paul knew Timothy's heart for people, and instructed him how to handle the persecution and stress that he was under.

Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.  (II Timothy 2:23-26).

That's exactly why I've taken an extended break from social networking. I'm tired of the arguments, quarreling, and misunderstandings. I can look back and honestly say I've done my level best to respond in truth and love whenever I've been questioned about trying to live up to God's standards. The world is becoming less God-like and more evil every day. I'm not perfect, and I don't pretend to be. But I do my best to read God's word and follow His commands. What breaks me up is this: I watched two teenage girls on the Anderson Cooper show proclaim their love for God, their respect for their parents, and repeat their written vows to remain sexually pure until marriage. Cooper and his audience took them downtown for making such a horrible vow! Saving themselves for marriage? Who do they think they are? A short time later, the media celebrated Mr. Cooper's announcement that he believes he's a homosexual. 

But God forbid that I should pray for Mr. Cooper, because that makes me a judgmental hater. God forbid that I should stand up for morality in any form, because it might make people feel bad. God forbid that we should simply repeat the words of our Creator. 

So as it turns out, I've done exactly as Paul prescribed. Do my best to be kind, pray daily that I don't resent those who oppose me, and pray that God will show my friends His truth through His word. It was the last part of the verse though, that really struck me... hard. The devil has taken them captive to do his will.

They're drowning, and don't even know it. God wants to throw them a lifeline, but they refuse to accept it. That's what hurts the most. 

Fasting and praying can change hearts. Arguing on a social networking site... not so much. 

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Why I'm Leaving Facebook

"Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things." - Philippians 4:8

I've had enough.

There comes a point when you just have to walk away, and that time has come. I'm walking away from Facebook and all of its drama, lies, misunderstandings and time-wasting activities. As much as I have enjoyed meeting up and keeping in touch with old friends, making new ones and even touching base with famous celebrities, I've found myself more frustrated and increasingly angry with what I see.

I've come to believe that as useful as social networking is, it has become twice as dangerous. Ideas are exchanged, half-truths and outright lies are wrapped up in cute little packages and circulated around the globe, and we've become a people that turn to the opinions of people we hardly know to shape our sense of truth and morality. God is lost in the mix. The new morality has become, "Truth can be whatever makes me happy. So your truth can be yours, and mine is mine." There's no more black and white. The line between right and wrong has become more than muddled... it has been erased.

I'd like to believe the best of people, but too many of us are putting everything out there for the world to see. Quite frankly, there are things I'd just rather not know. I've made friends and lost them because of the power of a few words tapped out on a keyboard. We have forgotten how to communicate. Try to share a truth with love and respect, and you're likely to be called every name in the book... and then some. Oh, it's so much easier to criticize when you don't have to look someone in the eye. Trouble is, that sort of behavior gets into your heart and becomes a part of you. And I don't like what Facebook is doing to me.

Facebook is making me sad. Just sad. It has left me lonely, hurt, and in physical pain as I see just how far we've fallen as a people. You may think I'm taking this thing too far... but I love God and I love His people with all my heart. And to see what's being said, posted, told and believed in cyberspace is breaking my heart every time I log on.

For the next 30 days, I won't be on Facebook, other than to update the church FB page and events pages. It's my hope that a 30 day Facebook fast will lead to a permanent one. We'll see. If God so chooses, He can heal my heart and strengthen me to the point that I can return. But right now, anything that hinders my relationship with Him has got to go. Facebook is number one on that list.