When Mark Zuckerberg launched Facebook in 2004 I doubt he had any idea what it would become. What started as a website only for Harvard students has blossomed into a multi-billion-dollar company with over 12,000 employees. Facebook has its advantages and its perks: Facebook helps many to connect with old classmates and friends, and enables many to keep in touch with distant relatives. Facebook also has its share of negative aspects: School fights are broadcast, and inappropriate sexual conduct is flaunted. However, Facebook cannot be blamed for how individuals decide to use it. Those on Facebook bear the responsibility for their use of the site whether for good or bad. I don’t believe many are aware of the fact that Facebook may play a role in the eternal destinies of its users. While some stare at the screen on their phone or tablet for hours gazing at their timeline activity, we need to be sure that the eternal impact Facebook will have on us will be for good and not evil.
FROM FACEBOOK TO HEAVEN
Facebook is an aid to many on their road to heaven. Facebook is used to share encouraging Bible verses, articles, and sermons. Jesus told his disciples to go into all the world with the good news, and Facebook is an expedient way that this command can be obeyed. Facebook has been used by Christians to reach family members lost in sin, or friends from years gone to share with them the message that can help generate change in their lives.
Facebook has also been used effectively to encourage Christians. Let’s face it, we all get discouraged and need to be pushed along to live faithfully (see Hebrews 3:13). Facebook is sometimes the avenue used for Christians to confess faults and similar weakness to another and also to share ways for overcoming temptation (see James 5:16). In times past it was not possible for Christians separated by thousands of miles to build and maintain relationships with one another with the ease that is done today.
Heaven will be more populated because many Christians are using Facebook to help struggling Christians not give up. Facebook is being used wisely to encourage some to repent and examine their ways to seek a better way in Christ (see Acts 17:30). Pictures of baptism often flood our timelines to remind us that no matter how dark this world gets there is still hope. When we see individuals in their nineties obey the gospel we get the necessary courage to reach out to our hardened family member at the next family gathering assured that where there is life there is hope.
We are now able to see the church up close and personal in places like Africa and Haiti, and are reminded that the kingdom of God is much larger than our American culture (see Revelation 7:9-10). Facebook has given many Christians the resolve to speak up for Christ in a way that they might not feel comfortable doing in public. Through the use of social media, congregations are able to share ideas that they have and methods that have been successful in building up the local work and getting the gospel message out. On the day of Judgment, some will meet face to face for the first time and perhaps be reminded of the good that a social media site like Facebook was able to be used for. For all of these reasons and more, Facebook should be appreciated and continue to be used for the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31).
TYPING OUR WAY TO TORMENT
I wish that I could have ended this article speaking of only the good that is seen on Facebook, but there is another side. Many people will hear the words “Depart from Me, I never knew you” from our Lord on the day of judgment (Matthew 7:21-23). Some will hear these words in part because of how they used Facebook. When I see immodesty and ungodly language used on Facebook from my non-Christian friends, it bothers me, but it disappoints me all the more when it is done by Christians (Ephesians 5:1-7). When Christians cause those in the world to stumble because their page does not match our profession, we should shudder. We need to preach what we practice but also practice, post, and type what we preach. Too many Christians use Facebook as their off-duty time from
When Christians cause those in the world to stumble because their page does not match our profession, we should shudder. We need to preach what we practice but also practice, post, and type what we preach. Too many Christians use Facebook as their off-duty time from holiness and say and do things they would not want to be brought up in judgment. Whatever we say or type, we will one day give an account for (Matthew 12:36-37). Have we forgotten that our words are sprinting ahead of us and will meet us at the finish line of life?
Though we sing hymns on Sunday and carry a Bible under our arms, the way we talk to and about each other online often makes void our claims of association with Jesus. Many Christians allow the boiling controversy of politics to upset them and cause them to mock and disrespect certain offices which God said should be honored (1 Peter 2:13-17). We must always stand against ungodliness and sin, but let us be careful that in standing for righteousness we don’t become more ungodly than those we would oppose. Many of the comment sections in Christian dialogue mirror the language of political debates, and not the Sermon on the Mount. Wouldn’t it be a shame to have the doors of heaven shut in our face because we failed to allow our Christianity to control our presence online?
What will happen to those who were not honest enough with themselves to admit they cannot handle all of the lust, pride, and hatred that often floods Facebook? In our efforts to save others via social media let us not lose ourselves (1 Corinthians 9:27). Facebook can be used for good, but it also may be the downfall of many. When on Facebook remember the narrow path we are called to walk and remember that one day all the books will be opened and all that we have done will be brought into account (Revelation 20:12; 2 Corinthians 5:10). God has the ultimate newsfeed, and what does He see you posting on His timeline? Will your use of Facebook help others go to hell or to heaven?