Sometimes I wonder what I did before Facebook existed. While I can go days without it, I certainly don’t prefer it. I love staying in touch with people, leaving short, encouraging notes and generally keeping up with what my friends and loved ones are doing. In my time on Facebook, I have become very tempted to share more than is necessary, especially about my marriage. When Eric does or says something that hurts me (usually without meaning to), I have the urge to write something passive aggressive on Facebook. It seems, in the moment, that derogating his character will make me feel better, but I know it won’t. Once something is out there for the world to see, there is no getting it back. Because of this, I have made a pact with myself that I won’t write anything on my wall, or someone else’s wall, that I wouldn’t mind showing to everyone. It is not always easy to hold back, but when I think about the consequences of saying too much, or something hurtful, it is usually no problem to refrain.
Last week while having lunch with my friend, Donna, she commented about how God sees all the things in our hearts and minds that we would never dare put on Facebook. I’ve always known that God knew my every thought, but that comment brought it home for me. All those angry, bitter and unforgiving thoughts that we would never want the world to see – yup, God sees them all. All the terrible judgments, hidden lusts, and filthiness we have inside that would make our friends on Facebook gasp… they are not hidden from God. When we sit on the porch with a smile on our face, all the while loathing someone in our minds, perhaps even wishing them harm – God is there too. He knows our every thought. I don’t know about you, but this is very sobering to me. There is no such thing as hiding something from God. There are no privacy settings on our mind and heart. We can’t keep God from seeing our pictures, our likes, our dislikes, and our comments. He has full administrator rights to our lives.
Psalms 139:23-24 says, “Search me, Oh God, and know my heart! Try me, and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!” Our thoughts matter. Just because other people can’t see them does not mean they do not affect us – and our relationships. Think about a time when you had a negative thought turn into an action. Once, I remember struggling with anger towards someone that I love (no, not my husband ~smile~). The anger was so harsh that I struggled to even pray for him. So, instead of praying, I spent my time brooding. Before long, I found myself spewing my anger verbally and my husband got to hear it all. He listened patiently, but he was affected by my angry spirit, even though my anger was not directed at him. It started with me having an angry thought, then it grew to me dwelling on many angry thoughts, and when my insides could not hold it in any longer, my thoughts left my mind and came out of my mouth. Had I taken that first negative thought captive, I would not have continued to dwell on it until it literally made me sick (2 Corinthians 10:5).
The example above demonstrates how easily our thoughts can turn into negative actions; but, what’s worse is when our negative thoughts toward our spouses turn into negative actions. If you are married, or planning to be married, you won’t be able to escape the occasional hurt feelings, heated arguments, or desires for retaliation. It is hard to pray through angry thoughts, especially when you feel or believe that you are in the right. However, if you ignore your thoughts, you will reflect on them even when you don’t realize you’re doing it… and before long your thoughts will dictate your actions. First degree murder does not happen instantaneously; rather, it is a progression. First, there is anger, then a multiplicity of negative thoughts, then contemplation of retaliation, and then murder. People who are not certifiable insane don’t wake up in the morning and just decide to kill someone. I’m not suggesting that you are all in danger of killing your spouses, but if angry thoughts could lead to murder, what other harm can they cause your relationship? And consider this… Jesus equates being filled with contempt toward someone as sinful as murder (Matthew 5:21-22).
So, the question really isn’t what God thinks of Facebook; rather, the question is, “What does God think of your thoughts and heart?” For, it is our thoughts and heart that is often displayed on Facebook. Have you taken time lately to evaluate your thoughts and meditations? What would happen if your friends on Facebook could see what God sees? Take some time and ponder your patterns of communication with others on social media sites – and in real life! This can have a large impact on your relationships. In fact, ask your significant other if he or she sincerely sees any problems with what you have put out there for the world to see.
We cannot help the occasional angry temptation that crosses our minds, but we can determine we will not allow it to set up housekeeping in our minds. When in doubt, compare your thoughts to what we are commanded to think about in Philippians 4:8: “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”
What are you putting on Facebook?