Does Your Facebook Betray You?
It was a highly pressurized situation. Jesus had been arrested on the way out of the Garden of Gethsemane and was in the process of going through one of a series "kangaroo court" hearings. He had been mocked, spit upon, and struck with a staff on his head while wearing a crown of thorns. During the last of these illegal hearings held by the Jewish leaders, Peter was standing outside in the courtyard. He was there warming himself at the fire and was surrounded by a group of people who were hostile to Jesus. At that moment, people started asking Peter questions about whether or not he was one of Jesus' disciples.
He likely assumed if he was identified as a follower of Jesus that he too would be arrested, beaten, or even killed. At first Peter politely denies his association. Then Peter gets even more adamant in his denial of his relationship with Jesus. At this point Matthew records these words: "After a little while the bystanders came up and said to Peter, 'Certainly you too are one of them, for your accent betrays you'" (Matthew 26:73). Sadly, Peter begins to curse and swear saying that he did not know Jesus. Perhaps Peter began to curse and swear because he was angry and afraid. Perhaps it was an added effort to cover up the fact that he really was one of the disciples of Jesus. Peter did tried to cover up who he was, but he could not hide the truth forever. Eventually it was his speech that gave him away.
Does Peter's behavior during the trials of Jesus shock you? Perhaps it should, but considering the behavior of those who profess to follow Christ today, the less surprising his actions are. When around the world, it is not uncommon for Christians to either hide their faith or to behave in such a way that their actions betray them. One place where such contradictory behavior and speech is common is the internet networking blog called Facebook. Facebook can be a useful tool to glorify the Lord and spiritual things. This is very refreshing, especially with the sinful garbage that dominates the internet. But sadly, the Facebook activity of some who are supposed to be Christians does more to glorify sin and this world. Some profess to be Christians, while their Facebook activity tells a much different story. Whether we realize it or not, what we do on Facebook speaks volumes about us. When you look at a person's profile, pictures, updates, and comments you learn much about their life – their family, job, hobbies, dislikes, food preferences, daily activities, goals, dreams, relationships, and so much more. So if a person is trying to please God, would that also not be evident in the things they do on Facebook? It must be! Paul writes, "If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory" (Colossians 3:1-4). If this is true of us, Jesus will permeate all aspects of our life. This would certainly include what we do on Facebook.
Consider some ways people who profess to follow Christ can be betrayed by their Facebook activity. Some will post pictures of themselves and others in clothing that is immodest. Personally speaking, I have been saddened and even sickened by having to see way too much of some of my friends who are supposed to be Christians. Our clothing should be consistent with that of a person confessing godliness with good works (1 Timothy 2:10). Based on some people's pictures on Facebook, they are certainly professing something but it sure isn't godliness! Occasionally you will find posts to links for videos that are unrighteous in nature. Many times the video is supposed to be funny, but its humor comes from sinful behavior or speech. Have we forgotten the admonition, "Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good" (Romans 12:9)? It is also fairly common to see people using language that is ungodly. Sometimes it is suggestive words about a person's picture, sometimes it is a vulgar joke, and sometimes it is the use of profanity or euphemisms. Perhaps one wouldn't dare type a curse word or take God's name in vain, but they will use abbreviations like "omg" and even worse without a second thought. Paul writes, "Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving" (Ephesians 5:4). There are some who would not do any of these things, but they show their approval of those who do. On Facebook you can leave comments under people's posts and pictures as well as clicking that you "like" something posted. Perhaps what we really need is a "dislike" option! Remember how Peter's speech betrayed him, making it impossible to hide that he was really one of Jesus' disciples? Christians need to carefully consider if their Facebook activity betrays their confession of faith and fellowship with Jesus.
This Facebook problem is a reflection of the problem of conforming to the world. Romans 12:1 says, "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind,that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect." It is a great struggle to live in the world while still living above the world, but this is our duty and our goal.