I’m not sure what your feelings are about Facebook, but I think there are several good things that the booming social network helps us with. As a church leader, things like sending announcements and recommending resources via notes and links comes to mind. But there is a reason I praise God for Facebook that’s a little different than those things. I praise God for Facebook because it reveals our hearts in a more vivid way than most other forms of communication.
Let’s think about this together. How much more do you know about people (other than your closest friends, perhaps) because of Facebook than you ever discovered in face to face conversation? We have a tendency to show people the clean, polished up version of ourselves in person. At least to a certain degree, when we talk to people in person, we act as if we’re on a job interview and each conversation helps determine whether we will get that person’s respect and friendship. So, we pick and choose our statements and facial expressions with much precision and caution. With Facebook, however, I think we feel more freedom to be ourselves. I’m not so sure what brings this on. Maybe it’s like playing video games, where we think that after turning off the system there are no consequences because it’s not real life… “I didn’t really storm a castle for King and country” or “I didn’t really take out that Nazi with a sniper rifle”. I’m not sure, but I do know that Facebook gives vent to our hearts that other things do not. We post things on Facebook that we would never say to a person’s face. Facebook tends to show the true intensity level of our emotions. If we’re angry, then the harshness and exclamation points start to fly. I’ve seen people who are syrupy sweet in person suddenly get self-righteously snippy at the opinion of someone who disagreed with them on Facebook. Politeness and consideration seem more distant realities on Facebook… perhaps this is because there is no potential for an open-hand slap since the person isn’t even in the same building.
Facebook also helps us see what we truly treasure. Jesus said, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21), and if we look at the things we “like” and our wall activity over the past month, we will see exactly where our hearts reside. Does Jesus just play a minor role or is He the main character? With all of its usefulness, Facebook can very easily turn into a platform for letting the world know who you are instead of who Christ is. Facebook is not the problem, we just find it harder to hide our hearts there. We are the problem and I praise God for Facebook because it exposes more of the reality of who we are… and when we see more of who we really are, then we see how much we need Jesus. Whether I am looking at my Facebook page or someone else’s, sin and idolatry seem to come into focus. This focus should send me running back to Jesus time and time again. Going to church on Sunday can sometimes delude us into believing that we’re all in superb spiritual condition because we tend to be on our best behavior there. Facebook draws back the curtains on our hearts and reminds us that we need a Savior… and we need Him every hour!