Friday, September 03, 2010

Facebook Theology

It is human nature to want to have an answer--words to say, some comfort to give to people we care about. I often put my foot in my mouth when I rush to fill a silence without thinking through the implications of what is about to shoot out of my mouth.

An interesting thing about the advent of modern technology and social networking online is that we can spew out words quickly with a far greater reach--and they cannot always be deleted. Sometimes our rush to comfort and fill the silence is immortalized as it is forwarded with lightening speed through cyberspace. Prayers that God would put a safeguard over my tongue must now extend to my fingers and my keyboard.

One of the places I have seen the most egregious offenses have been through facebook. (I am not anti-facebook in general. It definitely has pros and cons.) I am amazed at the personal nature of things people share as status update--especially things that are not entirely their story to tell. Heartbreak and disappointment get boiled down to emotionally charged phrases for all their 'friends' to comment on in a public forum.

I was struck a few days ago by someone's comment that "Life is too short to spend it doing anything that doesn't make you happy." Even more striking were all of the approving 'thumbs up' this comment received. Pardon my rant, but this is a lie straight from the Enemy. Last time I checked the purpose of life was not my personal happiness and ease.

I don't think pleasure is sinful. I don't think God's will is for us to me yoked to misery--but to ascribe to a life philosophy that major decisions should all be based on my happiness? Is it any wonder there is trouble in this world?

Real life involves joy and pain, responsibility and reward, leisure and hard work. I am deeply saddened by the seemingly prevalent belief that if something isn't easy it must not be right. 'Happy' is not the measure of right and wrong.

Is an athlete 'happy' to devote years of their life sweating it out in practice in pursuit of excellence? Does that always feel good? No, it requires some sacrifice.
Does it make an Army recruit 'happy' to leave his/her family to fight and defend on foreign soil?
Is a missionary 'happy' to sacrifice their personal comfort and safety for the souls of others?
Is a surgeon 'happy' to go into the hospital at 3am for an emergency operation? Or to miss important milestones in the life of their family because duty calls?
Is a young mother 'happy' to give years of her life away to the care of helpless babes?
Was Jesus 'happy' to be beaten to the edge of death before suffering a cruel demise at the hands of men who despised Him?

When will we wake up and stop trying to make it all about ourselves? (I am including myself in this statement.)

Jesus did not die for my happiness, He died for my eternal salvation. Jesus lived and died for my holiness, not my happiness. The blessings and joy we experience through the sanctification process here are an incredible bonus but NOT the point.

Endurance and perseverance are qualities we would all like to possess, but we are loath to go through the process that produces them.” —Jerry Bridges


LS said...

amen, amen, and amen jmom. . .i really needed this reminder today, convicting and at the same time incredibly encouraging.

i actually got rid of my facebook a little while ago. for me ((not saying it's wrong for others. . .)) it had become a time suck and sometimes having that much of a view into people's lives that i didn't know very well made me uncomfortable. it had honestly become a stumbling block for me. i watched myself getting jealous of others blessings because my life has been so difficult. ((just being honest)) so, i deactivated my account. and to tell you the truth, i haven't missed it nearly as much as i thought i would have.

it has allowed me to invest more in authentic relationships with those that mean the most and has distanced insight into the lives of individuals that at this time it is probably best that i not know all the intimate details of their life.

i am certainly not saying everyone should deactivate their account nor that facebook is a stumbling block for everyone.

i think this was a very timely post, jmom. i really appreciate you putting this out there. . .because i agree 100%. . .life is most certainly not about happiness, it's about holiness. i think the myth that we should always be "happy" has even infiltrated a lot of Christian culture and is something that needs to be addressed. and oftentimes, God has to allow a season of suffering because that is the best way to learn many difficult things that will refine our character. Those difficult times often deepen our relationship and reliance on the Lord and often result in a more intimate relationship with the Lord.

Thanks for sharing!!

julie said...

I believe it is not happiness that is the goal, but peace. Peace with where I am in my life, joy where I can find it and perserverance when things aren't what I am expecting (but often have an untold blessing in the end). This "happiness above all else" mentality is a bit juvenile in my opinion, life experience gives us some perspective. Thanks for the post, I feel the same way about some facebook status updates...

Marva said...

I also needed this post and loved the way you wrote it! Thank you for your insight and a powerful reminder! We so need to remember that we were created for HIS glory!!

Debbie said...

Lovely post - and so true.

Love Being a Nonny said...

So So true...It is not about ME, it's about HIM. Thank you for being so honest!

Anonymous said...

All I can say is THANK YOU !


Charon Benton said...

wow! I had never thought of FB that way! Thanks for the food for thought!

Mary Lou said...

Amen and need to put the main point of this post as your status on FB...would make people think and is NOT about us at all BUT that is it only ALL about HIM and Him alone. great reminder to us all.

The Robinson Girls said...

Great post- and so true. I hadn't thought of that phrase, in that light before, but you are on the mark!

Rebbeca said...

I read something this morning and your post brought it back to mind: "Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed." 1 Peter 4v12-13

Just Another Ordinary Miracle said...

ditto- don't think i'll be throwing in the towel any time soon, but can honestly say ...walking the thin line between sheer joy and a broken heart many a day.