The old saying used to be, "think before you speak." Now that social networking is here to stay, I believe it should now read," think before you hit 'send'."
Facebook and the like are great ways for us to stay connected with people from around the globe, but for everything that is used for good, can be used for evil. More and more people are forgetting the old code that we used to live by and that is we don't need to share all our secrets with everybody, that is why they are called secrets. Not everything in life is meant to be shared publically.
Recently I saw on Facebook, a person I am acquainted with; write a comment on my friend's photo that was unfair, uncalled for and actually unchristian like. They took private information about my friend and made it public for everyone to see. It does not matter if the information was true or not because anyone seeing it would automatically believe it because it was there on Facebook. The person didn't even have time to defend or explain themself. "It is not true until it is on Facebook," has become our plump line of truth.
There was another very sad but extreme circumstance about young man named Tyler Clementi who took his own life after his room mate had secretly videoed him having sex with another man and posted shots on a twitter page. (www.huffingtonpost.com)
For some reason we now feel that it is our duty to let people in on other peoples secret, to air them to the whole world. What ever happened to the biblical approach that if you have a problem with someone you go to them, and if they don't listen take someone with you and if they still don't hear, bring the elders? The verse does not say put their sin on Facebook so they will be shamed and ridiculed and so that everyone will talk about this.
What happened to loving your brother as yourself? What happened to being discreet?
Connecting is all too easy
Social networks are making it easier for people to connect with a click-of-a-button to people from their past. Let's be honest, do we really need to connect with people who were in our kindergarten class and haven't spoken to in over 20 years? Or do we need to connect with old flames?
"The temptation is great to reconnect with someone online, and what may start off as something innocent could bring an end to your marriage. Marriages are falling apart as people reconnect with boyfriends and girlfriends. "We're coming across it more and more. One spouse connects online with someone they knew from school. The person is emotionally available and they start communicating through Facebook," said Dr Steven Kimmons, a clinical psychologist and marriage counsellor at Loyola University Medical Centre near Chicago. " (www.guardian.co.uk)
No matter what people say social networks are not to blame for marital unfaithfulness or divorce. They ease the way for people to reconnect and to have innocent conversation with people you might never have had in the first place. It makes for a safe meeting area that no one else has to know about not even your spouse and it all starts with sending or accepting a friend request.
Some churches in the USA have even gone as far as banning Facebook and telling their staff to close their accounts or resign. (www.foxnews.com)
How about before we tell everyone to get off social networking we come up with our own Christian code: Let's be accountable- we are called to be accountable in all other aspects of our life so why not in our social networking. Give your password to your spouse, let them into your account, or better yet share an account. If you are not married, be accountable with a friend about what you are writing.
Before you post a response or a status update wait 30 seconds, don't just respond out of anger.
Think about what you are writing and how will it affect others- Your comment may change someone's life are you prepared for that. Do you really want to ruin someone's life? The Bible also is clear that we will hold account for every word that we speak; I believe this applies to what we post as well. (Matthew 12:36)
When posting videos or pictures online "What would YOUR grandmother think if she saw that?" should be your standard of what to post. If grandma would be disgusted or shocked then maybe that shot is best to stay on your own laptop or better yet deleted to avoid future grief and embarrassment.
Finally, what is your motive in befriending an old classmate or flame? Be honest with yourself. Maybe just pass over that friend request and go meet your spouse for coffee instead.
Next time before you hit the 'Send button, think about whose life you could be damaging is could be yours.
Genevieve Wilson from Canada is a happily married home-schooling mum of 3, whose passion is to see people come to know Jesus. She is a seminary wife to her amazing husband who has graduated from the Masters Seminary in LA.
Genevieve Wilson's previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/genevieve-wilson.html
Genevieve Wilson is Canadian. a happily married home-schooling mum of 3, whose passion is to see people come to know Jesus. She is a seminary wife to her amazing husband.