Deleting People out of our Lives

27 Oct

Ephesians 4:29, “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.”

You guys know me and my way of presenting you with Scripture, ideas related to it, and some conclusions I have made, then . . . standing back and encouraging you to form your own conclusions.

If you belong to my Saviour, you are perfectly capable of doing that, with or without me along for the ride. I just like to write and I like to challenge people to keep exercising their critical thinking skills all life long. At my age, if I stop doing that, I will lose those skills!!! Ha ha!

So you are used to having a lowkey approach from my keyboard. Tonight I will change that up a bit.

There is a practice that is going on that is so ungodly and so juvenile that I am going to call it out. I am going to do that plainly.

I saw it start among the teens in my life. Especially the teens on Facebook. Facebook enabled it initially. Now it has become an epidemic.

What is worse, the adults who are supposed to set an example for the teens and call them to growth in their walk with Jesus are . . . starting to adopt this ungodly practice. I have seen it with my own eyes.

That practice is the use of the delete button and the block button on Facebook and other social media to control other people through fear and other socially manipulative tactics.

The Lord told us to avoid corrupt communication. That means we are to exercise sincere communication with each other. Yet, instead of going to brothers or sisters with whom we have issues that need to be talked out, as the Lord told us to do in Matthew 18, we delete them or block them from our lives, then gossip about them to everyone else.

This may start out on social media, but by the time it is full blown, it is not just a Facebook issue. There are people dropping out of other people’s lives without a word to them. People who have formerly been friends who just stop talking to someone else, with no explanation. Ungodly stuff that.

I have heard of cases where people moved and, as soon as they were several states away, blocked large numbers of people on Facebook who thought they were their friends. I can’t imagine what is going on in the mind of someone who would pull a stunt like that. I don’t know what is in their minds, but I will call it what it is, a huge emotional powerplay over those other people.

There is no excuse for this. No excuse that involves sincere Christianity anyway. If someone wants to admit to being an immature believer who likes to pull stunts for shock value, I will give him points for honesty.

You see, you can’t delete years of friendship with the stroke of a key. To pretend to do so is to show that you have every intent of wounding the other person in the most childish way you can find. Your action says, “We may have been friends for a decade or more, but you matter so little to me and the input God has made to my life through you means so little to me that I believe I can hit one key and dislodge it forever from my memory.” Make no mistake, that is a very cold and calculated move.

And then no one is content to just hit the delete or block key anyway. They always have to tell lots of other people about what they have done. And the quarrels grow and pull in innocent people to choose sides and sharpen their swords (and tongues).

If you are reading this and suspect that you may have done this to others, it is not too late to make it right. Don’t excuse the inexcusable. This is an action not even worthy of the critical thinking skills of a preteen. Don’t be swept into it by your emotions as an adult.

What would God have you to do? Go talk over your differences with that person. You may not need to have each other on Facebook, and you may not end up as best friends no matter what you do, but you do need to have a cordial relationship on this earth. You will dwell in heaven together forever. Let’s start to get the relationship right while we are here. We need each other, and we are all sinners, saved by grace alone.

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3 Responses to “Deleting People out of our Lives”

  1. Jeff December 27, 2012 at 10:06 PM #

    Suffice it to say, I have to disagree with this post on a number of fronts. Namely, the Scripture used is quite minimal. Biblically we’re told “if it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men” depends on the person you’re dealing with. Sometimes, it isn’t possible with people on FB who may be incorrigible no matter how much one tries to reason. They do not listen to reason but will take every opportunity to bash you and express bitterness. The Biblical account is that all men have sinned against God. In other words, we are all “bent” with a sinful nature. When FB or other social media continues to express that sinful nature and exhibit an undesirable influence on my mind, it is no different than my choice to change a channel on the TV. I have a choice as to whether or not my mind is to be burdened, bothered, distracted by that which is continually contrary to what God would have in my life. If FB friends aren’t encouraging but bothersome with unGodly stuff (eg homosexual “sweetie” comments, argumentative notes over politics), the Biblical thing is to avoid such. Here is a verse to compare: Rom 16:17 “Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.”

    • Mary Gardner Martin December 27, 2012 at 10:30 PM #

      Jeff, first of all, I want to thank you for your comment. It is just the type of meaty comment that I hope to always get when I write. You obviously thought about what you said and are passionate about getting to the truth of our Lord’s Word. I am with you on that, so any disagreements we may have are between brother and sister, not meant to be rancorous in any way.

      • Mary Gardner Martin December 27, 2012 at 10:32 PM #

        Now, first of all, to set the terms of how I post, I never attempt in a blog post to thoroughly cover any topic. There is neither an attempt to thoroughly cover the Scripture I chose nor is there an attempt to find every possible Scripture that applies. That would be better done in a Sunday school class (or a book) than in a blog post. Just so you’ll know I wasn’t attempting to be exhaustive . . .

        Next, I need to say a little bit more about what our pastor said last night (and has said on other occasions). The idea is not to never break fellowship when someone is causing divisions and offenses, but rather to do it the Scriptural way. Matthew 18 is quite clear that the process of breaking fellowship with someone is a long, drawn out process taken in steps that allow the person to think about repentance at each step. The person who is thus “excommunicated” only gets to that step after telling his church leadership “no, I won’t repent” at least three different times.

        That is very different to what I have seen in social media which is the casual (and cold) deletion of a person from one’s life without even talking to him about what the problem is. Pastor calls that the coward’s way out. God tells us to meet with the person, show him the Scriptures about why what he is doing is wrong, give him a chance to repent, take it further with the church leadership, give him another chance to repent, etc. And in our fast-paced society of the 21st century, we have reduced God’s clear instruction on how to break fellowship to the mere hitting of a delete key.

        Obviously, I am talking about someone with whom one has had a long-term relationship. I have over 1000 people on Facebook from various eras of my life. I make it a rule for myself to not delete them, as I believe I can have a gospel witness to anyone. But I do hide them, on occasion, if they have something in their communication that is corrupt and is showing on my page. For example, on election day, one friend had an obscene sign on her profile picture . . . and she kept showing up that way in various places on my page. So I hid her until the election was over. I still want to win her for the Lord. But I didn’t want that obscene word splashed all over my page.

        And I couldn’t break fellowship with a nonbeliever anyway. Matthew 18 (and Romans 16:17) aren’t written about non-believers, but about believers who walk disorderly.

        If you have other comments about this post, I would love to continue to discuss it. Thanks again, brother.

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