Facebook is one of the best-known social media platforms of our time. In 2014, more than 864 million people logged in every day. Many young people (and also the elderly) that I speak to are online for hours every day. They scroll, read messages, look at pictures and post messages themselves. I heard from a number of Christian youths that they use Facebook to evangelize.
Using Facebook often seems harmless. Yet this seemingly harmless activity is causing major problems, not just here, but worldwide. Facebook is increasingly mentioned in divorce cases. More and more people are addicted to Facebook, not a day goes by without having been online for a few hours. From the young people I speak to, I hear Facebook is tempting them to watch porn. Real porn may not be available, but all those near-nude photos make them curious to search for more on the web.
Matthew 5:29 tells us to pluck out our eye and throw it away if it tempts us to sin. Jesus is talking about plucking out and cutting off body parts in this section. We may assume that He does not mean this literally, but He is very serious though. Jesus wants to make clear that it is very important to be devoted to only one mate and to keep away from adultery and fornication. He wants to make it clear that we must destroy everything that can lead us to sin. In fact, he says that choosing whether or not to do this has consequences for eternity; “It is better to lose a part of your body than to be thrown into hell with your whole body.”
I dare to say that a large percentage of the people who have Facebook don’t get along with it. Many are tempted to read and watch violence, blasphemy, pornographic material, and so on. I know that there are a number of people who do not recognize themselves in this, they quickly click away everything they should not see. If you are such a person, I would like to ask you how much time you spend on Facebook. How long have you spent looking at so-called innocent information and clicking away everything that’s wrong? Does God want you to spend your precious time doing things that do not give him credit? Doesn’t God want us to do everything for His glory (1 Cor. 10:31)?
Now let’s apply the text. I already said I believe that a lot of people don’t get along well with Facebook. If, after reading this article, you are convinced that having a Facebook account tempts you to sin, I want to offer you the solution with the help of Jesus’ statement. I modified it a bit;
“Then if Facebook tempts you to sin, remove it and throw it away, because it is better for you that you live without Facebook and don’t have your whole body thrown into hell.”
Sounds intense doesn’t it? It can be a very difficult step for you. You can experience Facebook as part of your social life. You are aware of all kinds of things through Facebook. You have friends there. You have contact with people who are otherwise difficult to speak to and there are probably all kinds of objections that come to mind. Jesus also knows that it is not painless to make such a decision. He’s not talking about tearing out eyes and chopping off hands for no reason. Believe me that’s not painless either. However, He does show you that that painful or difficult decision can have eternal value. And consider for a moment which is worse: a little pain during your life here on earth, or eternal pain afterwards?
It might be good to say one more thing to the people who use Facebook to evangelize. If you’re actually doing this and Facebook isn’t tempting you to sin, keep it up. I compare it with evangelizing in a pub. A lot of things are happing there which doesn’t give glory to God. Only think about the time people spend there doing useless things and having empty talks. But if you come in such a place to win souls for Christ, stand strong and may you not be tempted to useless scrolling, chatting, discussing or peeking.
If, after reading this article, you are convinced that you have to chop or rip something off, I pray you receive the courage to do so and to do it quick. I myself also deleted my Facebook account a few years ago. I couldn’t handle it properly at the time. I ended my days scrolling Facebook and checking out what my digital friends liked. I then realized that I can close my day much better by having contact with my Heavenly Friend. Now, three years later, I love life without Facebook and I don’t long for it anymore. I have more time for God and I experience peace, I Like that!
Oh yes, feel free to replace the word Facebook in this article for something else; Twitter, YouTube, WhatsApp, magazines or whatever other thing or activity is keeping you from God.