I hate Facebook. I really do. But I need it.
“He loves and hates the Ring, as he loves and hates himself.”
OK, so I’m not ready to start calling it “My Precious,” but Facebook has begun to gnaw at my soul. Rather, the way I am tempted to use it.
This is not your Harvard-researched conclusion about lost productivity, although that case could be made. No, it’s more like a late-night bag of Doritos, followed by a handful of Hershey’s kisses and another bottle of Mountain Dew, consumed in a darkened living room while watching a Marvel superhero movie. Cheap thrills that don’t satisfy and leave you slightly nauseated but hungry for more of the same.
Has anyone responded to my post? I wonder if they shared my link.
My eye drifts to the upper right-hand corner looking for that tell-tale red box that notifies me of something new.
Only a “1:” someone likes me…or something I said…same difference. Either that, or it’s some stupid bubble game invite. A 2? Alright, getting some attention. 3? I’m on fire! 5? Wow, I haven’t been online in a while. Gotta answer all these posts – these discussions won’t produce themselves, and without my opinion, my friends are prey to their own ignorance. A message? Must be serious. Get my game face on. Click!
It doesn’t even matter if I’ve done this five minutes ago. My mouse knows the way to the bookmark, and we can start the whole thing over again any time, day or night. Only, I’m a little more forgiving at night. Well, after 11 anyway. I don’t really expect new content when decent people are in bed. Which doesn’t count my friends in other countries. But there aren’t as many of them, so I won’t get so irritated when nothing exciting and relevant is happening at lunchtime in Auckland.
I’ll check it again at breakfast. But for now, where was that funny video I felt too guilty to watch while working this afternoon?
Before long, it becomes so obvious that there is nothing to be found that can truly satisfy the soul. Even the inspirational quotes by famous Christians fail to stir the spirit.
Oh, a Bible verse. How original.
It’s like trying to eat a black hole.
And I’m full. Or, more correctly, I’m empty.
That’s what pride does. It feeds upon itself, consuming what it craves while inflating its demand for more. It is the fatal thirst of the castaway, who seeks relief in a cupful of salty water.
I’m hungry. I’m thirsty. I need something that satisfies, like a feast of fresh meat, sweet wine, and a hundred other assorted dishes.
And that’s where she comes in. No, not my wife, who keeps leaving brochures for “Facebooker’s Anonymous” in places where she knows I’ll find them.
Wisdom. Lady Wisdom, who built her house, furnished her table, and then sent her invitations out into the street to find me. (Proverbs 9:1-5)
In my daily Bible reading, I came across her words, which are the words of God, and they spoke to me. In a few examples, here’s what she said, followed by what I heard:
“Receive my instruction, and not silver; and knowledge rather than choice gold. For wisdom is better than rubies; and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it.” (Proverbs 8:10-11)
Wisdom…or, the Word of God…rather, time spent in His Word is much to be preferred above all the Shares and Likes in the world.
“The fear of the Lord is to hate evil: pride, arrogancy, and the evil way, and the perverted mouth do I hate.” (Proverbs 8:13)
You cannot gain an understanding of God’s Word while simultaneously checking to see how many people admire your understanding of God’s Word.
“By me kings reign, and princes decree justice.” (Proverbs 8:15)
Honorable kings – or “leaders,” if you prefer – do not reign by online savvy but by God’s wisdom.
“Riches and honor are with me; yea durable riches and righteousness.” (Proverbs 8:18)
When you learn to pursue wisdom above the things you most desire – honor, respect, peer admiration – you will receive them…but only once they matter less to you than the wisdom that produces them.
“Blessed is the man that hears me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors.” (Proverbs 8:34)
“Watching daily at her gates,” not checking the status updates of fools minute by minute.
So, it seems like she suggests that I stop, at least for a while.
Facebook is not evil. It is neither sinful nor foolish to use it well. And one cannot defeat pride simply by unplugging. But one may change his habits to create space for humility and increase an appetite for grace.
So, for the next week or so, I’m off Facebook. Other accounts may post there on my behalf, but I will not be checking on them. I won’t even be checking the stats for this blog.
Instead, I’ll be spending a little more time in the Word, a little more time in prayer, and a little more time serving others.
If you wish, you can call me, email me, or find me on Twitter.
And, yes, I can taste the iron.