Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Double-Edged Sword

Over the past few days I started to feel a bit anxious about the first time I would see people that may have read my blog or heard about it. I know darn well that many will have an opinion on it and at the same time many will not care at all. I'm by no means trying to put myself on a pedestal and say that I figure everyone was talking about my blog at the dinner table last night. I just mean, for the people that I do know and am very much in contact with my sudden change would most likely be brought up the first time they saw or spoke to me only because I have gone public about it and for those that had me as a friend on Facebook knew, I was very active on the site.

My biggest reason for feeling slightly anxious was my fear that my blog was going to come across as legalistic. A very dear person to me that I look to for wise counsel told me this: Doing something out of  your own conviction is obedience. Judging others (which you are not) or imposing your conviction as "law" (which you are not) is legalism. Her comment gave me peace again. I received another text out of the blue shortly after this conversation and part of it read: Hi!! So weird, I went from 290 friends to 288! I think what you guys are doing is amazing. Def an inspiration. I so need to limit my time on Facebook... I think if FB becomes a distraction from reading the word and taking care of your house and family it is something that needs to go! I smiled after reading this because at the time when I was feeling quite anxious, this was exactly what I needed to hear. Little did this person know that the Lord used her in that moment to minister to me. And, no, I don't believe in coincidence. I felt highly convicted by the Lord for my overuse of Facebook and therefore am doing something about it. Since writing happens to be something I enjoy doing, blogging seemed to be the perfect way to address my situation and at the same time possibly be a light to others that may struggle with this same time waster or another.

Another friend also spoke with me today, and as I write this I wonder if I am going to start losing friends because they fear I may use them in a blog post. lol. Anyways, this friend gracefully explained in so many words, that we must caution ourselves that as we write our blogs that they are not self-serving, but giving the glory to God. Oh how I am already learning so many lessons! I love it! I looked up the definition of self-serving and it read: serving one's own interests often in disregard of the truth or the interests of others. I by no means want my blog to be self-serving. I think the Lord can use us all in amazing ways and I want to challenge myself to make sure my blog remains a God glorifying tool as I continue on my journey of going Facebookless for 362 more days.

Now that I feel that my reason behind starting my journey and my hopes for this blog are firmly stated I want to begin by explaining some truths that I found fascinating and how they could directly be applied to the use of Facebook. I am by no means a preacher, but you can expect from my blog the use of scripture at times. I guess I should mention that I am a Bible believer with all of my heart so I suppose you can take from my posts what you will.

My sister sent me the link to a sermon online that she found that was on the topic of Facebook. The preacher very clearly explained that he was in no way trying to tell the listeners what to do in regards to the use of Facebook, but he felt it was a topic that was not foolish to discuss because Facebook is indeed a means of communication and the Bible has a lot to say about communication. I agreed with his statement and I must admit, skeptically kept listening. A little side note, I'm a huge skeptic. If someone gives a statistic the first thing I usually ask is well where did you get that from? Was that website legit? I think that was one lesson I learned when getting my bachelor's degree in communication. Never immediately trust anything you hear or read on the internet. Yes, I got my bachelor's in communication. Maybe this is why the idea of Facebook and the fact that we are in a communication revolution so to speak is so fascinating to me. Anyways, moving on. As I finished listening to the sermon I realized that this preacher had many amazing points, some of which I had never even thought about in regards to Facebook.

The preacher started the sermon by addressing his church and telling them that Facebook was not going anywhere. Social media, so to speak was now something that the world has been inundated with and that is not going to change. I had to agree. I know very well that my decision to rid myself of my personal Facebook page for a year will not change that it is there. Even if I decide after a year of giving it up that I do not need or want to get back on Facebook and no matter how many people choose to do the same for whatever their reasons might be, Facebook is going to be very present. On Friday, the first day I deactivated my site, I went to the Fox News website and no kidding, three of the main major headlines included Facebook. I just laughed to myself because isn't it funny how when you take something away, usually you always seem to notice it more?

Moving forward, the first point that stood out to me in this sermon was the fact that in Mathew 12:36 it states, "But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken." When the Bible talks about communication and speech, the same things hold true for what we type. The preacher explained that every post, every message, every tweet, etc. that we write we will someday be held accountable for. Every idol word. This spoke to me hugely.  Every post I make in this blog I will be held accountable for. Makes me just a tad more cautious in my writing, I must say.

Another verse he mentioned was Ephesians 4:29, "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen." This also convicted me. I knew with the amount of time I spent on Facebook and the amount of status updates I did, there was NO way that I was thinking about bringing up others in every single post. Thank goodness for God's grace. Sheesh.

These were just two of dozens of scriptures he pulled up in regards to what the Bible says about communication. He also stated that technology in of itself is benign. Meaning there is nothing wicked about Facebook, or any other form of social networking by itself. This I also completely agreed with. He explained that many people say that the television is wicked. Well that isn't fair, he stated. The television itself is just a tool used for communication, but yes some things that are shown across its' airwaves are wicked. He quoted Titus 1:15, "To the pure, all things are pure, but to those that are corrupted, nothing is pure." How true this was when applied to the lovely land of Facebook! In of itself, Facebook is an amazing tool, but after spending countless hours on it I know how easily just tweaked in the slightest way it could be used for nothing pure at all.

Over the next few days I'm not entirely sure where this blog will take me. I think I may go over a few of what I believe to be the pros and cons to Facebook, because when making a decision on something, this is what I like to do. Some of you may agree or disagree with me and that's perfectly okay.

The same person that I began this blog mentioning also told me this: new technology is always going to be a double-edged sword. And with that I couldn't agree more. ♥

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