Tuesday, July 19, 2016
The Green Grass of Social Media
If you spend too much time on social media and don’t socialize enough in real life, you could end up feeling like a failure. Most people put their best foot forward online, so when you aren’t around people in real life, their proverbial grass might start to look greener.
That girl you went to school with might be showing you the best selfie out of 27 takes. Her obese figure is conveniently cropped out and so is her husband’s court-ordered ankle bracelet. When your cousin took that picture of his baby in an immaculate-looking home, his wife shoved the laundry pile and dirty dishes out of view just before snapping the picture. Another buddy of yours might only post on special occasions, so you get the impression he is always going out to eat or on a family vacation. When you see his adult son photographed at the Thanksgiving table, what you don’t see is that he’s a drunk that they hardly ever hear from. You might see photos of his joyous wedding a few years later and assume he was always the perfect son.
It’s not just pictures that can be deceiving, but those select snippets of life that are deemed worth sharing with virtually everyone we know. We’ll post statuses when our children say something thoughtful, our spouse does something romantic, or we get promoted at work. What you don’t see much of on Facebook is marital strife, credit card debt, and dysfunctional families.
This is not to say that Christians should air their dirty laundry on the internet. Criticizing your spouse publicly is disrespectful and could damage your relationship, and children and teens are easily embarrassed. Yes, keep most of your posts positive, and retain a good testimony to your unsaved acquaintances, but don’t be a braggart either. Keep it real, but realize that others might not be as transparent. People are more likely to confide in you one-on-one than in a post geared toward everyone on their friend list.
“Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” James 5:16
There is already a tendency to envy people when you don’t live with them and see how they act at home, but social media can exacerbate this problem by providing an even more skewed view of others. If everyone’s posts make it seem like you’ve missed the boat, perhaps you need to unplug for a while and socialize with real people in real life. Then, at least you won’t be looking at everyone else’s life through the filtered lens of social media.
“Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour's.” Exodus 20:17
Here is a sermon on covetousness.