pc46 Sins of Facebook

The Sins of Facebook

By David Cox

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1Tim 5:13
And withal they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not.

God prohibited the spread of information and getting involved in other people’s lives for the sole purpose of “just knowing about others” (curiosity). This prohibition is exactly the purpose of social networking, so what are we as Christians doing on social networks? We can probably legitimately “keep up” with family and close friends, but quickly it becomes tattling (repeating unsubstantiated stories and revealing personal information) and being a busybody in other people’s affairs.

Even though the title of this tract is “Facebook”, we are really speaking about any and all social networks. A computer is like a shovel, in and of itself, it is not wrong or bad, but if you hit somebody else over the head with it and kill them, then it is put to wrong use and becomes bad. It is not a sin to have a Facebook account, but depending on how you use it, it can quickly become sinful.

A Bad Investment of Time

Col 4:5 Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time. Eph 5:16 Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Really we should be dedicated to “good things”. We should use our time in a good and right way in the eyes of God. The question is, how are you using your time when you are involved in social networks? Is it a good and wise use of time? No it is not. Prov 14:23 In all labour there is profit: but the talk of the lips tendeth only to penury (poverty). We should admit that there are many “better things” to be doing rather than spending our time on social networks.

An idol or god in your life is what you give sacrifices towards. We should all work to support ourselves, and this should be where we invest the majority of our time. Students should study more than anything else. 1Tim 5:13 condemns these widows that dedicated a large part of their time and life to passing on gossip. To gossip is a sin, and it is to dedicate time and energy saying or listening to “speaking things which they ought not.” First, there are things that shouldn’t be repeated, because it is an invasion of other’s personal lives. Secondly, God doesn’t approve of this activity. To let this sinful activity become a god is doubly wrong. Let’s just ask the simple question, What really is your God? You say Jesus Christ. Good. Then can you honestly say that you spend more time in Bible reading and study, meditating on the Scriptures, in prayer for yourself and others than what you spend on social networks? No? Then Facebook and these things have now become a god in your life. You are addicted to them. Stop it!

Remedy: Limit your time in social networks to less than half of what you spend with God in prayer and Bible study. Moreover, you have to see HOW YOU USE SOCIAL NETWORKS also. Serious Christians do not waste their time on unfruitful things that provide nothing for them in eternity. Godly people simply will not allow themselves to be wasteful of their resources, but rather they invest their life in God and their relationship with God. Neither do they want to be “connected” with other lazy people who are wasting their lives on vanity and spiritually useless things.

Envy and Gossip, Facebook’s main theme

Lev 19:16 Thou shalt not go up and down as a talebearer among thy people: neither shalt thou stand against the blood of thy neighbour: I am the LORD.

Gossip is to reveal details of yourself and others to third parties. Paul spoke in 1Tim 5:13 of information which was not to be shared. God sees it as sin.

Prov 11:13 A talebearer revealeth secrets: but he that is of a faithful spirit concealeth the matter.
Prov 20:19 He that goeth about as a talebearer revealeth secrets: therefore meddle not with him that flattereth with his lips.

The Bible defines a gossip as a person who “discovers secrets”. Much of the evil in social networks is its central purpose, to transmit information about people “to the public”. While one is talking about one’s own life, you could say you are not gossiping, but even so, the purpose of revealing many details about yourself has its own problems. Why are you doing this? What is your purpose? We remember that Paul’s observation that there is information that shouldn’t be revealed, and even if it is about your own self. The truth is, you reveal things about your own self in order to boast about it to others with the intent really is to provoke envy over “your lifestyle”. This is why people who use Facebook want their social “enemies” to have access to their Facebook, so that they can provoke them to envy. A teenage girl will take a photo of her and her “best friends” at Starbucks and post it on Instagram so that “all the rest” of her acquaintances will get it, and ask themselves, Why wasn’t I invited? Instead envy and rage. Again we look at Paul’s command…

1Tim 5:13 And withal they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not.

The publishing of information of any kind of others is usually an invasion of their privacy, which biblically is the sin of gossip. If they want that information to become public, let the person themselves give it out. Social networks are filled with posts that either improperly reveal information about other people (which you have no right nor permission to give out), or you express opinions that really should not be made or don’t matter (i.e. that you shouldn’t be making public opinions about these people and matters), or you give out information about yourself so as to boast and cause others to sin by seeing it. Social networking only amplifies these sins to extend its influence from 2 or 3 people (pre-Internet) to 100 to 500 people.

Remedy: Before commenting about others, ask yourself if you have the right and permission before God to comment on other people’s lives. What you are publishing, does it damage that person’s reputation? If they are a false prophet, fine, focus on the doctrine and sinful activity being taught, otherwise keep quiet. Does it reveal information that isn’t for others to know? The biblical reasons why we could reveal information publicly about others is very narrow. Are you wanting others to know something about you so that you are showing how better your life is than others? Are you self-centered, and this is how it is manifesting itself?

Protecting ourselves from Envy

Envy is the sin of seeing and observing another’s life to desire their popularity, their abilities, their possessions or experiences, etc. Envy is a sin in the person who sees and desires sinfully, and envy is a sin in those who boast and parade their lives in front of others to provoke envy. Most things of a person’s life should be kept private.

Rom 13:13 Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying.

God prohibits us from “chambering” and “wantoness”. Chambering is defined as an inordinate desire or excessive desire for carnal desires, which may be sexual, or may be sensual (great experiences, excesses of luxury or riches). Wantonness is a leaning or tendency (hunger) towards carnal delights, especially sexual in nature, but also excesses of luxury or extremes. Renting an excessively expensive hotel suite (frequent among graduating high schoolers) and then taking pictures of you in this luxury posting it to social networks is wantonness.

Remedy: It is better to remove anybody that isn’t a real friend from your social networks, and keep it family and the closest of friends. Do not boast of your activities, experiences, possessions, or riches. Do not post your experiences on-line. Consider closing out any social network if you cannot justify it before God.

Why are you posting information on the Internet in the first place? Does it serve some purpose? If it serves no purpose it is vain (empty of moral worth), and if so, we shouldn’t do it. If it does serve some spiritual purpose, what is that purpose? Keep that purpose in mind constantly to filter out everything except what fulfills that spiritual purpose. If there is no spiritual purpose, then why go watch vain people post vain things about their vain lives? No real Christian should want to be involved in this non-sense. Get your Bible and read. Pray. Witness your faith person in person. Those hold eternal worth.

The Loose Tongue

Social networks have the express purpose of letting people express themselves, talking as much as they want, talking a lot usually, and talking a lot of non-sense usually. Much of this is pure sin, because it has no spiritual purpose and causes great damage to others and sin in your own life.

Prov 13:3 He that keepeth his mouth keepeth his life: but he that openeth wide his lips shall have destruction. Matt 12:36 But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.

God warns us that the person of many words brings destruction upon himself; the person of few words protects his life from harm and eternal condemnation. God will judge “every idle word” you speak. Most of the things on social networks are pure idle works which brings the judgment of God.

Prov 10:19 In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise.

Wisdom is to refrain from a lot of “loose talk”. Prudence is the virtue of acting in a just, adequate way, which caution. Wikipedia.org defines prudence as “acting in respect of the feelings, life, and liberties of other people… to act with caution to avoid possible damage or conflict with others.“

Prov 30:32 If thou hast done foolishly in lifting up thyself, or if thou hast thought evil, lay thine hand upon thy mouth.

Simply put, stop talking so much. This verse is exactly the sin of social networks, in that either it is talking about others to ridicule them, or exalting one’s self. Take those two things out of Facebook, and 90% of the material would disappear.

Prov 29:20 Seest thou a man that is hasty in his words? there is more hope of a fool than of him. Jas 1:19 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:

We should measure what we say, thinking in eternity before speaking.

Prov 18:2 A fool hath no delight in understanding, but that his heart may discover itself.
Prov 21:23 Whoso keepeth his mouth and his tongue keepeth his soul from troubles.

Social networks are all about free expression. God says that there is a great problem with this, and His children should be reserved with their talk and comments and opinions. Godly speech and what happens in social networks are poles opposite one to the other. Think, meditate, pray, and be reserved before you use social networks. They are spiritually dangerous to your soul and your walk before God.

Reference to Psychology Today, Protect Yourself from the Seven Sins of Facebook. http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/fulfillment-any-age/201104/protect-yourself-the-seven-sins-facebook

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