I knew that C.S. Lewis and I had more in common than our Christianity when he said, "You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me." Welcome to a celebration of faith, tea, and the written word. I'm always engaged in a book, and whether it's one I'm reading or one of the inspirational historical romances I write, there's always a cup of tea close by. Join me in a cup as we chat about faith, our favorite books and the exciting places our reading and writing adventures take us.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Does God Like Your Facebook Status?

Have you ever wished there was an “unlike” button on Facebook?

Just for the record, I’m not easily affronted. And when I am, my husband is quick with his common refrain: “don’t attribute what they said/did to malice.”

But this time, one of my Facebook friends posted a status update that offended me. To me, there's a difference between starting a discussion/sharing an opinion, and calling everyone who doesn't agree with you stupid/robotic/insane. Whether it's about politics, parenting choices, theology, or what-have-you, I'm all for discussion. I'm not all for putting others down who see things differently.

This particular status update was like a fist in the gut to me. Even though I would not have hit the “unlike” button if one existed, I would have wanted to use it just to make the not-so-loving point. (Yes, I am ashamed now by my quickness to anger.)

I’m sure I’m not the first to get steamed by something on Facebook.

Facebook can be weird. It’s fabulous for keeping in touch. Those of us who are writers befriend agents, editors, authors, and publishers. In this way, we learn about the industry, cultivate relationships, and “get our names out there.” We share our experiences and show that we’re real, cool, interesting people.

But what else are we sharing about ourselves? When we post, are we revealing our sparkling personalities, or could we be revealing TMI, judgmental hearts, insensitivity to others, or lack of impulse control?

Everyone from our neighbors to our employers have access to our thoughts, experiences, and jokes when we share on these sites. It’s been said—loudly and often—how important it is to use common sense when we’re on social networking sites, to think before we type.

I would go a bit further and suggest we apply what I call Christian common sense: consideration of how our words, thoughts, and actions affect our relationships, ministries, and God’s plans.

A few basic questions to bear in mind:
  •  Who is your audience? Whether it’s on Facebook , Twitter, or Pinterest, keep in mind who can view what you write, post, or pin. Can only “friends” see your posts? How about “friends of friends”? Keep in mind that people you don’t know might be able to view your status, links, and photos. And they can judge you for it.
  • When sharing a stimulating idea or opinion, is your intention to start a dialogue or to shame or bully others into seeing things your way? 
  •  Could you alienate someone by your post? If you have professional followers/friends, will they be more or less likely to pursue a professional relationship with you?
This doesn’t mean we should be bland, boring, or anyone other than the interesting, unique people God created us to be when we’re on Facebook. Political opinions, parenting methods, and theological questions are not taboo, and posing questions can engender some great discussions. But we could be doing ourselves and our relationships a disservice if we don’t examine our motives or methods when we share.

How we deal with Facebook should be the same as how we deal with the rest of life. If Christ is integrated into every fiber of our beings, He should be present in our Facebook conduct, too.

For the Scriptures say, "You must be holy because I am holy." 1 Peter 1:16

So before you post, here are some things to consider:
  • Rephrasing an opinion isn’t difficult. If it could cause offense (whether to a potential employer or a dear friend), consider how to soften your words. Putting others down to make ourselves feels better isn’t just unprofessional, it’s unrighteous.
  • Ask if your post would embarrass you if the wrong person saw it. Gossip is a sin, whether it’s through lips or a keyboard.
  • Consider how you best respond to information. Most of us do not respond to shaming or bullying, so using those tactics to sway others to our viewpoints on Facebook probably won’t work, either.

Managing our dealings on Facebook isn’t just a professional issue. It’s a spiritual one, too. When Christ is at the core of our impulses, decisions, and choices, we become builders of his kingdom through all kinds of mediums. Even social networking.

What's the funniest or neatest thing you've seen posted on Facebook?

Originally posted on Inwellinspirations.com on 7/13/12. 


Jessica Nelson said...

Very true, Susanne. I recently posted something about the cost of school supplies and was a little worried it would come off the wrong way. I think it ended up being okay but I'm still careful with what I post. Great tips!

Susanne Dietze said...

Jessica, I can't imagine you being offensive on FB. Your posts are always interesting, well-phrased, and thought-provoking. And school supplies are expensive! I'm with you there.

Thanks for coming by. I hope all is well with you!