Dear Muslim and Christian friends,
Being an extrovert – a very social person – I enjoy Facebook. I find pleasure in reading about other peoples’ lives. Well, some things about their lives, just not the “I’m getting ready for some great hamburgers or kabobs on the grill” kind of Facebook entries. Sorry, I don’t want to sound critical but I don’t have time or interest in them (if you do, more power to you!). But to read entries that speak of significant life events or to find an old college buddy from 30 years ago, Facebook can be a wonderful tool. I guess you could say that I “like” it!
So. . .to the title of this blog. When I first signed up for Facebook, I decided to have only male “friends” (though I do have a few married couples as friends). Why? Well, it’s simple. I have heard of too many horror stories of married people who got in contact with old boyfriends or girlfriends through Facebook. They became “friends”. . .
and eventually a whole lot more – too much more. If they were struggling a bit in their marriages, it became convenient and easy to talk about that with their old high school or college sweetheart through Facebook messages. And slowly, the old fires for that person started burning again (fire can be a positive thing – it just needs to stay at home, in the fireplace!). That lover from the past started looking mighty good and their spouse of some – or many – years suddenly seemed boring and not so attractive. . .or fun. . .or understanding. Affairs through social networking? You bet, it happens.
Hey listen, please don’t get me wrong. I don’t blame Facebook itself for affairs. No way. Not at all. The problem isn’t Facebook. The problem is the human heart. Jesus said:
King Solomon (Sulaiman for my Muslim reader friends) wrote these wise words to young men: “Above all else, guard your heart“ (Proverbs 4:23). He hadn’t always followed this advice. At one time in his life, King Solomon actually had 700 wives and 300 concubines (see 1 Kings 11:1-7 in the Bible). Some of you guys think this would be great but it wasn’t! His wives led him astray. As he grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods. In saner moments, King Solomon realized his sinful folly and issued these wise warnings (in the form of rhetorical questions) about temptation and moral purity to the young men he was writing (Proverbs 6:27-28):
As a husband (of an incredible wife of 37 years), a father, a grandfather, and a spiritual leader, I want to guard my heart from temptation in every way. I don’t want to get “burned” or “scorched” by seeing how close I can get to a “fire.”
And. . .I don’t want to do anything that might deeply hurt my Lord who saved me or deeply hurt my family members and any others who look up to me to lead them in righteousness.
No, I want to be a “good man.” Like Barnabas in the New Testament (the Injeel). It was said of him that “he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith” (Acts 11:24). What does it mean to be “good”? It is weak and wimpy? No, goodness requires great strength! God Himself is the epitome of goodness! When referring to people, I think the concept of good means virtuous, honorable, morally right, honest, loyal, and faithful. It means behaving in a good way when people are watching – and behaving in a good way when only God sees.
For me, I want to please God, guard my heart, and follow Jesus in the way of purity, integrity, and goodness. The Bible says in a letter to the Ephesians:
Why no women “friends” for me on Facebook?
I want to be a “good man”.
(Postscript: this post is absolutely not meant to be a criticism of anyone who has Facebook “friends” of the opposite gender! It is only a personal conviction to provide one of many safeguards in my life. I hope you have some type of safeguards for purity and goodness in your life as well!)