Some people have told me that it is vain to bother about Facebook dangers, since “that battle is lost.” One could say the same thing about a whole host of issues, but we intend to keep on warning about spiritual and moral and doctrinal dangers as long as we have the ability.
I know a lot of believers who don’t use Facebook and who are exceedingly cautious about everything pertaining to social media and the internet in general.
The following is excerpted from Spiritual Safety in the Facebook Age.
“I used to be an avid Facebook user. I would spend time on there every single day. Lots and lots of time. I loved to see what everyone was doing as well as share my own life through the site. As the years went on, though, I noticed a change in myself. I would check my Facebook multiple times a day, all day. I would scroll senselessly. I would see things I shouldn’t as I had a diverse group of ‘friends.’ I began to be grieved by my use of Facebook. I began to be grieved with my own response to how people would respond to my posts and comments, etc. I started to hate Facebook. I began taking periodical ‘breaks’ and just unplugging. Every single time I did I felt amazing. My prayer life increased, my walk with the Lord became stronger, I was happier. But I always went back. Don’t ask me why. Finally I had enough! Last year, January 1st, 2018, I unplugged for good! By God’s grace I will never go back to Facebook. My life is so much richer! There is revival in my heart! I read many books! I study God’s word more, spend more time connecting with my children, and am just happier. I wouldn’t say that no one should use Facebook, but it was definitely damaging to me and my spiritual walk. Facebook gobbled up precious time that could have been used in so many many better ways! I literally hate Facebook now. The very thought of it causes me stress.”
“I think everyone should evaluate themselves in this area and determine if their usage of it is expedient. For me personally, this took the form of only using the FB messenger without a FB page. Even the messenger I would get rid of except for a few friends in the States who prefer to stay in touch via messenger. I use Skype and of course email and I use What’sApp for a few friends who prefer that over using their texting minutes. But for the social media that is nothing to me anymore but mindless scrolling and looking at everyone’s opinions and watching Christians argue and debate, I have found that there were better uses for my time. I’m not even tempted to use Facebook anymore because I remember how depressing it could be to sit and scroll looking at the same stuff over and over knowing that there were other things I could and should be doing with my time. But if someone else thinks they can and should use Facebook for the glory of God in some way, I will not criticise or try to discern their heart. I just know this is what the Lord has showed me in my own life. I’m better off with less social media in my life.”
“Some years later when Instagram came out I made an account. It was private and I kept it restricted to people I personally knew primarily. I would not have described myself as a heavy user or particularly influenced by Instagram. Yet a couple of years ago, in conversation with a godly friend who expressed his concern over social media and the ease at which the wickedness of this world is available to our young people, my heart was convicted. I knew this to be true. I'd been searching for an innocent picture on Instagram previously and was horrified to come across terrible images which I reported. As a youth group leader at church I knew that some families did not allow social media, and so rather than be a stumbling block to others I deleted my account. After a few days where it felt strange not to be checking my feed or thinking, ‘I could take a photo and post this,’ I felt absolute relief. I didn't realise the pressure my account had created. I didn't have to constantly think of photo ideas. I didn't have to check my feed daily to keep up with what everyone else was doing. I was suddenly freed from it all. And I realised it had a much greater hold on me than I had known.”
“I thought I could use Facebook to post profitable things and stay away from the negative, but I found that I couldn’t just do that. I had to scroll a few times and that turned into more. Back in high school the goal was to get as many ‘friends’ as possible, so I have friends that I didn’t even know. The old acquaintances bring back old worldly memories that entice me and also I find myself wasting a lot of time.”
“Facebook was a huge hindrance to my spiritual life. It didn’t happen right away. Sin slowly slithered in until I was so far from the Lord. I don’t even know it happened until too late. I deleted my FB account over three years ago and have not missed it.”
“I had Facebook in my teenage years which I now see was detrimental to me. I got rid of it at age 18 for the reason that I have enough problems of my own, I don’t need to know everyone else’s. I quickly realized a difference in my attitude. I was joyful. I didn’t have parental supervision while on Facebook and I found myself stalking other people, talking to people I hardly knew, and causing/feeding drama. Or getting involved in other people’s drama. I praise the Lord for the decision I made at age 18 to get rid of it.”
“I used Facebook for a short time many years ago to keep in contact with acquaintances. I quickly saw the artificiality of many of the ‘friends’ and the tendency toward self-centeredness, so it was no trial for me to give it up when I went to a Bible college that prohibited social networking. Years later, however, I started up a new account with no information about myself for the sole purpose of being able to access Facebook accounts of businesses that didn't have any other form of website (for example, the carpenter who made cabinets for my house). But one day my attention was grabbed by the list of suggested ‘friends.’ Somehow Facebook had figured out about some people I had known in my youth and recommended them to me. I started looking at it, seeing pictures of people who are now married and with babies. Then (thank the Lord) the thought came to me that resuming contact with all that would not be a help to my spiritual life. My desire to put the Lord first had led me on a different path than them, and they had rejected all my attempts to share with them the truth I was learning. When you mentioned that you were writing something about this subject, the thought came to my mind that it would be good to urge caution to anyone using Facebook just for ‘business reasons’ to make sure that they never compromised their original purpose. At the best it is a way to waste a lot of time, and at the worst it could take us back into former thought patterns, temptations, and even relationships that could greatly damage our walk with God.”
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