I recently came to the realization that I no longer knew why I was on Facebook. I don’t just mean having an account, I mean why did I log in? Why did I leave Facebook open on my computer? Then, slowly at first but quickly I realized why in a age by-gone we used to disconnect with people. The grim reality strikes that you cannot possibly keep up with hundreds of people even if you wanted to. It is not humanly possible to be close friends with so many people. Who has time for that anyways? Then you began to see what fills your newsfeed. More pictures of drunken-partying or pregnant bellies than you thought possible. Statements from relative-strangers or close friends that make you go “TMI”. Passive aggressive suggestions that make you realize someone is not happy with somebody else but doesn’t have the balls to say something directly to the person in question. Unprecedented amounts of gossip clog your news feed making you wonder–why am I on Facebook?
I found that being logged onto Facebook constantly was both distracting and depressing. While it allowed me to connect both with people it also caused me to see stuff that is often unnecessary & harmful. I found myself shaking my head at more and more stuff that people post on Facebook, it seems like social media keeps redrawing the lines of what is socially acceptable to share with the entire world. While I don’t object to Facebook as a tool for connecting with real friends or as a tool for the Kingdom of Jesus, I object to the bickering, “too-much-information”, passive aggressive behavior I see so often. I came to the point when I hid so many of the people from my newsfeed that I found only the few people who had something worthwhile to say popping up over and over again. The chat feature, while helpful creates a constant-hope that someone wants to talk to me distracting me both at work and at home. It just no longer seemed worth it to be logged on or even have Facebook open anymore.
There are people out there are addicted to checking Facebook. There are people out there looking for someone to chat with. There are people out there stalking someone they’re Facebook friends with–feeling that emotional connection with each click and every status update. There are people out there who feel that Facebook is a great place to air their dirty laundry–feeling the need to through the use of generalizations (or song lyrics) to seemingly veil their oh-so-clear feelings. Even if you’re not involved in the altercation, it doesn’t take a someone with a degree in understanding the human psyche to detect more-or-less what is going on under that not so thin veil. This all leads me to the realization that we’re all seeking connections. We’re all looking for friendship. We all want to be known, understood, loved for who we are–and we want to know our friends and be close to them also.
I shudder because phones, texting and especially Facebook have are isolating people and they don’t even realize it. People sit in their homes alone, their dark room lit up by their computer, not socializing face-to-face with others but reaching out on Facebook trying to fill that need for fellowship and friendship. They hope others will know them by what they share in a status (hoping others will read/like/comment). They read other people’s posts and looking at pictures feeling like they shared that experience–with those other people. Still others are posting things from the relative privacy of their phones not perhaps realizing that these deeply-personal thoughts will get plastered all over newsfeeds everywhere. They do not really consider that almost strangers (aka acquaintances) will be reading those personal hurt feelings or gossip that should only be shared with a very close friend (if at all).
It leads me to the following question: What does Jesus think of Facebook? No, not what would Jesus do on Facebook or what would Jesus post on Facebook or what would Jesus like on Facebook (though those are valid questions). But what does (not hypothetical) Jesus think of Facebook? I wonder how many people seeking spiritual nourishment turn to friends on Facebook while the Bible collects dust, or sit logged-in waiting for someone to want to talk to them-longing to share what’s on their heart while the God who made them and loves them is only a prayer away? I wonder how many people who need a mentor or a shoulder to cry on sit alone at a computer when the fellowship they seek is in a Church? I wonder what would Jesus say to those of us on Facebook? What does He think of what we’re sharing? Who we’re writing about? What would He say about what we’re filling our minds with? He knows why we’re posting what we are. He knows the story behind that status. While we hope that people see us, like us and comment on what we share–He waits–hoping we’ll turn to Him. He knows that what we seek to fill–the emptiness inside–can only be filled by Him and no amount of likes, comments or shares will ever get us closer to each other and certainly won’t draw us closer to our Lord.