Recently, on facebook, I have noticed a few posts that say something to the effect of facebook friends really are not your true friends. That we should take more time interacting with people face to face. How many of your so-called friends on facebook do you actually talk to or interact with on a daily basis?
We’ve all heard or read statements like this if we have a facebook account. My question is this: is it a valid and true statement? Should we in fact work to develop better relationships with our friends face to face? Are our friends on facebook our true friends?
My opinion is that it really doesn’t matter to me that I don’t send a message to the majority of my friends on facebook on daily basis. Am I only a person’s friend if I message them or write on their wall consistently?
Does this make me a bad friend or a fake friend because I don’t do this? Should I just unfriend all of my fake friends and leave only the ones whom I am in constant contact with outside of facebook?
I would answer, no.
As a Christian, my calling is to reach as many for Christ as possible. Facebook is a part of our reality. I have the ability to view someone’s recent activity in their life in a matter of seconds without having to talk to them personally. I can get to know who they are, what they’ve been through, and what is currently going on in their life. I can view pictures of them and their family. I can keep track of their birthdays and anniversaries. I can see what articles they’ve read and what their hobbies and interests are. I can learn things about them in a few minutes what might take me years to learn in person.
Is this all good and wonderful and remarkable? Yes and no.
First of all, an acquaintance on the internet is not a relationship. Having met my wife, Kristie online I have experienced this firsthand. Our relationship wouldn’t have moved forward if all we ever did was email and instant message each other. I got to know about her through AOL, but to really have a relationship with her, I had to get to know her personally, face to face. So internet relationships should never take the place of interacting with people in person. There simply is no relationship apart from knowing and interacting with them face to face.
However, I do believe that a lot of good can come from having a lot of acquaintances online. In the same way that I’m able to view someone else’s activity, they are also able to view mine as well. Here’s where I believe that as Christians, we can do a lot of good.
One of the reasons I started this blog was so that people who don’t know me that well can come here and read my posts and find out things about me and to better understand what it is that I’ve gone through that has made me who I am today.
Before I started writing, my purpose needed to be firmly established. I needed to have a clear purpose and direction for my blog. I could choose to write about a lot of things, but not a lot of it would be read or make an impact in someone’s life.
I’m sure that the things I’ve been through aren’t unique to me. I’m not naive to think that I’m the only one whose heart has been broken more than once or has struggled to fit in at school. There are many things that I experienced where I didn’t see the big picture or didn’t allow God to work in and through me during those times. But there are times when I did allow Christ to be seen in me.
Regardless of how I responded during those times, I can look back and see God at work in my life. I can see that all of those little or seemingly insignificant moments were all pieces of the puzzle of my life where God was strategically putting in place in His own time.
As I’m walking with God and continuing to be more like Christ, I’m starting to see God’s perspective of my life. The only way that I can see my life from His vantage point is to know Him more by reading His Word and by trusting and obeying Him. It is then that I can look at my past experiences and my present circumstances through His eyes.
It is because of this reason that I wanted to share with others about the things that God has taught and continues to teach me about the things that have happened in my life.
This is one of the wonderful things about the internet and facebook. I have the ability to connect with hundreds of people all over the country that know me or have known me in the past and they can click on a few links and learn not only my life history, but what I learned from those things. I think this is truly amazing.
I have to believe if the Apostle Paul were alive today, he would have a facebook account just because of the amount of people he would be able to share the Gospel with. We might be reading facebook or blog posts that he wrote to the churches in Asia minor instead of the actual letters. That’s just speculation, of course and I’m not in any way trying to disrespect God’s Word. My point is if he was alive today, he would use any means necessary to get the message of Jesus out there. Including the internet. It doesn’t mean that he wouldn’t have still visited those regions in person.
When I think about the opportunities and possibilities that are given to us in this exact time period in history, I often wonder why it is that we have the ability to reach far more people for Christ with the technology that we have than Paul did but most of us aren’t taking full advantage of this.
The inventors of facebook and any other social networking site didn’t have the idea of Christians utilizing their sites for spreading the Gospel.
In every area of life where a lot of good can be done for Christ, there are countless ways for our attention to be diverted and get distracted from obeying Christ. Facebook certainly is one of those areas. I don’t need to list the hundreds of games that are available to consume your time. Our adversary is very good at pulling our attention away from Godly pursuits toward mindless time-wasters.
We all need to exercise wisdom and discernment in all areas of life, including facebook and the internet.
We are going to have to answer one day to God for how we used what He gave us.
Are we going to use facebook and the internet to attract people to Jesus or to ourselves?
So, no. I have no problem at all having people that I never talk to in person as Facebook friends. It doesn’t mean I don’t care about them. But, just maybe they will see or read something that I posted or wrote and it will get them thinking about more than just the cares of this world.