Friday, November 06, 2009

Quit Using Facebook/Twitter To Glorify Yourself

I have been growingly concerned with how much boasting and pride I see on facebook and twitter, and have been wanting to write about it for a while. After reading Psalm 5, I think I know how I want to proceed. First and foremost let me say that I struggle with this all of the time, so this entry is convicting me as I write it. Facebook and twitter are a means of people "seeing" me, so it is incredibly easy to do things that draw attention to myself instead of God. That is why I try to recite a verse to myself before doing an update or post...

Matthew 6:1
Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.

This always echos in my mind when I read over so many facebook and twitter updates. Many Christians make it their aim to practice their righteousness in order to be seen. As you read this I hope you feel the conviction to stop or the caution to steer clear. Now, verse 2 makes it very clear that what Jesus is saying is applicable to what many of us do in the public arena of the social web today.

Matthew 6:2
Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.

Jesus warns us like this in three different ways: when we give to the needy, pray, and fast. I'm sure you may want to object at this point and say, "How does anyone do this on facebook or twitter?" Well, it is actually quite common and very easy to fall into. Someone makes sure to mention how they are using their Saturday to give to charity (give to the needy). Someone makes sure to mention how early they have to get up for a prayer service that only a few people attend (prayer). Someone rails against a certain food or form of entertainment because they abstain (fast). Reading over these I'm sure you can think of a time you or people you know have done this. Now, this became more urgent to me when I read Psalm 5.

Psalm 5:5
The boastful shall not stand before your eyes; you hate all evildoers.

David makes it very clear that what Jesus is talking about is not just something we do horizontally to those around us, but it is something vertical toward God as well. But what does it mean, "shall not stand before your eyes"? What it means is that when you are boastful you align yourself with the evildoers that God hates, which is exactly what Jesus says in Matthew 6. He says over and over, "Do not be like the hypocrites". So you are not just turning toward man to boast, you are removing yourself from the presence of God and standing in the way of sinners (Psalm 1:1). This is why Jesus repeated this warning three times and in three different ways. Reading over this has helped and convicted me, I hope it helps you as well.


Tim said...

The irony of it of course is that the very act of updating others on what you are doing without anyone asking can be seen as prideful. It begs the question "What do I care if you just baked a dozen cookies while studying for the bar exam? Good for you. You think you're better than me?" It's probably just as easy to interpret some status updates as prideful or having hidden intention as it is to actually fall victim to doing the same.

Lucas Knisely said...

Yeah, I acknowledge that status updates in general draw attention to us. I was more speaking to what Jesus said, "practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them".

Anonymous said...

I finally figured it out Lucas. Interesting take on it. I appreciate your heart to share a warning you are feeling so strongly about. I love everything about Facebook. I have loved being in touch with sweet friends that I havent seen since the 4th grade, talking with them sometimes daily by way of bantering, and most of all flirtin' with my favorite guy (my husband of almost 19 years).. Although I agree with your warning to steer clear of drawing attention to yourself by way of lifting yourself up, I do think if used correctly and with self-control it can become a blessing rather than a curse. When it began to take more of a place in my heart than what it should have, I chose to deny myself the priveledge in order to bring my flesh back under subjection to His Spirit. Thank you again for your take on it, and I appreciate your gentle response towards those who may not agree with your viewpoint. Now...if I could just get a handle on that chocolate I so love... :)