If you are a Christian and you ever feel the idol of “Facebook Righteousness” rising up in your heart, and you start loading your pistol and looking for “law breakers”, I offer these thoughts…
a. Cultural/Personal Variation – It might be considered that Christians come in many shapes and sizes. Some Christians feel comfortable using strong language. Some do not. Some feel comfortable drinking a beer. Some do not. This may or may not be a matter of sin. What defines a swear word for you or I, may not be defined as a swear word by others. Paul spoke of this plainly in 1 Corinthians 10 when he talked about the issue of meat sacrificed to idols. We must realize that areas of cultural variation in certain areas of ethical and moral behavior exists among gospel believing Christians. We simply have to live with that.
b. Public Forum – Facebook is a public social network where people express themselves; where Christians express themselves. When we engage in this kind of public forum, we have to expect that people are going to say things that we don’t like – that “Christians” are going to say things that we don’t like, especially when they feel passionately about something. Furthermore, people are going to be sinful. Sometimes people, Christians and non-Christians alike, are going to say things that they shouldn’t say. They are going to be mean, and ugly, and dumb. And the more a person speaks publicly, the more likely that they are going to say something mean, ugly, and dumb. That’s the beauty and the danger of free speech and public discourse. That’s the nature of the beast. Just ask any politician.
c. Friend Reject Button – If someone is consistently saying something you don’t like, you can simply punt them as a friend on FB. You should consider this option long and prayerfully before removing someone for expressing their opinion or saying something that you don’t like. Remember Jesus’ command to “go into all the world” (Mark 16:15) and to love our enemies and do good to those who hurt or offend us (Matthew 5:43-48). But if you prayerfully feel that you should do so, please resist the urge to preach an ethical farewell sermon to the offending party, making sure that they know why you are ending your association with them. That really profits nothing. Simply hit the ‘remove friend button’ and move on.
d. Log and Speck – Finally, always remember that it is our first order of business is to continually be looking into our own hearts, considering our own sin, repenting, and believing in the power of the cross. This gospel self-analysis will provide for us a continual posture of humility and patience toward the sins of others (Matthew 7:3-5).
I pray we remember these things as we interact with our Facebook friends. For more thoughts along these lines you might want to check out these previous posts.