You Are My Facebook Friend, Part I

15 Aug

You are My Facebook Friend, Part I

Ephesians 5:16, “Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.”

Is there anyone among us who can claim perfect obedience to that command?  The first part of it, in v. 15, tells us to “See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise.”

Our pastor has such a gentle way of teaching us with grace.  He will sometimes suggest possible timewasters in our lives, but, as he does, he reminds us that it is easy for him to suggest that the hobbies of other people are timewasters.  His hobbies, fishing and hunting, are easier for him to justify as things that are productive.  But it is easy for him to regard the activities he doesn’t personally enjoy as being a waste of time.  I love the point he makes.

Aren’t we all like that?  Ready to condemn the person who spends a lot of free time at the golf course because we never learned to play golf?  We never delve in to find out exactly what the attraction is for him.  I know of some friends who go to the golf course with a heart for evangelism.  But we would never know that if the first step we took was a blanket condemnation of anyone who spends hours playing golf.

An area that has been interesting for me, an inveterate chatterbox who was born to write, has been the advent of Facebook.  To me, it is the most amazing fulfillment of what would have only been a dream in childhood:  to get everyone I have loved at various times in my life in one room together to talk.  I regard Facebook as my second living room, and treat it as a way to reach out to many people I will probably never see again in person while on this planet.

Others are not so fond of it and I have learned to parry (or not) when I hear that occasional statement, “Oh, you are on Facebook so much.”  Trying to be wise and discern motive before launching into what could be an inappropriate answer, I have had every possible thing said to me after that.

Many friends like my Facebook topics and find they will think about them afterwards, especially the spiritual challenges.

One friend actually admires my Facebook presence but doesn’t participate much herself because she is not comfortable in English as her second language.

There are others whose responses are not so clearly supportive.  Two friends at a recent funeral remarked, separately, “Oh, you are on Facebook so much.”   I responded, “Yes, I am.  What does it mean to you to be on Facebook?”   They responded that “time on Facebook isn’t necessarily a bad thing” (but I could tell they thought it was).

So what do we do with people who think our hobbies are a waste of time?  I would like to propose that we do . . . nothing at all.  God is their God, too, if they are Christians, and He can work on them and the judgmental attitudes, if that is truly what is happening.

I know, because I am made of flesh, too, that we are very tempted to “go there” and self-defend with people who seem critical of us.

Neither of the friends who were acting “spiritual” about doing Facebook less than me keeps an immaculate home (neither do I).  Both are homeschoolers who are paid in some capacity for helping other homeschoolers educate their children.  Both like to socialize over a cup of coffee much more than on social media (they are best friends).  And both have been known to spend their time talking about other homeschoolers behind their backs in negative ways . . .

I could go on, but this process itself feels like a mudbath, even when doing it as an example.  What the process is, to put it into words, is taking apart the interests of the other person, in order to respond to their implication that you waste time by showing them that you think they do it, too, just in different ways than you.  And it is, at root, a self-defensive process that is not necessary, as God can take care of us.

We are all different and, aside from the gossip part, there is nothing these friends are doing that is against God’s Word.  They simply have different lives, jobs, and hobbies than me.

I propose that we leave each other alone in areas that are simply personal differences and preferences.

There is a time and a place to confront behavior that is openly sinful, but even that may be someone else’s role, not ours (I have never felt led to confront either friend about the gossip—I just stay wise about what is said in their presence).

You see, I don’t watch television, go to movies, do very much recreational shopping (most of it is on-line for me), play on-line games, or read romance novels.  I also don’t play any sports, to the point that I have to go to the gym to work out, lest I become subject to weight-related illnesses as I age.  But those things neither recommend me nor act as detriments to my testimony.  They are simply who I am and where I am right now.

Everyone else has their own list.  We all have hobbies.  There is a whole theology of recreation (God did not teach that life means working 24/7).  So as we strive to learn how God intends us, individually, to redeem the time being busy for Him, I suggest that we leave the content of each other’s hobbies as something between that person and God.

And gently love those who criticize our hobbies!

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One Response to “You Are My Facebook Friend, Part I”

  1. Ray Fulayter August 15, 2012 at 9:38 AM #

    We enjoy your Blogs. You challenge the status quo thinking syndrome. The right use of media is great. Just because it looks like a person is on FB, he may not be, if they let it run while checking emails, writing blogs, etc.

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