If the Apostle Paul had Facebook

I am seeing a disturbing trend on Facebook and I don’t like it.  I recognize immediately that my opinion may not be a popular one, particularly with those who practice this trend – but in the land of free speech, my opinion still counts… and I think it’s still right.

What am I talking about?   The public shredding of ex girlfriends, ex-husbands, ex-employers and ex-friends on your Facebook wall.  In short, it works like this.  Someone wrongs you/crosses you/offends you/hurts you/disrespects you/steals from you/cheats on you/slanders you/gossips about you/or cuts you off in traffic and you, in turn, tell every friend of yours all about it.  In detail.  On your Facebook wall.

While it is true that you can virtually write whatever you want on your Facebook wall, it does not mean you should.   Granted, you may have been terribly wronged.  You may be justifiably angry.  You may have every right to be hurt, or upset or even furious.  Yes, lovers have been known to cheat.  Yes, ex-spouses can make life difficult.  Yes, employers can be jerks from time to time.  Yes, we all have friends that have made us angry or done things that hurt us.  But that does not mean you should broadcast their evils on your FB wall for all the world to see.  As it has been said, “two wrongs don’t make a right.”

Allow me to share six reasons why you should keep your thoughts to yourself:

  1. Your rant is permanent.  Whether it’s a website entry or a Facebook wall – it’s there for good.  You may not realize this, but once you put something on the web, it’s on there forever – even after you delete it.  Think I’m kidding?  This article proves it: http://www.zdnet.com/blog/igeneration/facebook-does-not-erase-user-deleted-content/4808   You need to really think twice about what you post, particularly if it is offensive or mean – even if it’s true.  Today’s party picture can cost you tomorrow’s job or promotion.  Your angry wall rant could actually cause more damage than the harm done to you.
  2. It lacks class.  Class-less people hang their dirty laundry for all to see.  Class-less people rant and rave about the wrongs done to them.  Class-less people hold on to past offenses and make their bitterness public.  Jerry Springer made a whole TV show out of these types of people.   You were wronged, we get that.  Now, go to counseling or write in your journal or tell a close friend about it.  There is no need to share it publicly as the rest of us don’t really want to hear it in that forum.
  3. You have no idea (literally) who can see what you write.   You may think that only your friends can see it.  But if your comment makes it to my news feed, now all my friends can see it.  And they can share it with their friends.  And their friends can share it with their friends.   Within a matter of minutes, your mud slinging can be across the globe in front of God knows who.  It’s bad enough that your drama is on my doorstep.  Do you really want it travelling to other countries too?
  4. It sets a bad example.   Others read your post.  Others deal with difficult people who hurt them.  Others struggle with how to handle their anger/frustration.  Others look up to you.   They may think it a good idea to follow your example and do the same thing.   If I wanted to listen to negative junk, I’d turn on an episode of Cops or Hoarders or The Real Housewives of Whocaresville.   Isn’t there enough negative in this world?   Share the good.  Post the positive.  Tell a funny.  Make me smile.  I already want to cry and scream enough in my day without your help.
  5. You are not perfect.  Do you remember the last time you wronged someone?  Probably not.  Have you ever said or done something that hurt another person?  Probably.  Would you want it broadcast on the world wide web for all to see?  NO!  You say that your level of wrong was less than the wrong done to you?  I say that’s a weak argument.  One of the first things we are all taught growing up is to “treat people the way you want to be treated” (Matthew 7:12).   True, you were not treated the way you wanted.  But “an eye for an eye makes the whole world go blind.” (Mahatma Ghandi)   Recognize that you have hurt others too and learn how to forgive.
  6. Most of the time when you post such things, the person you are talking about never sees it.   Mark Twain once said, “Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.”  Or as Buddha once said, “Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.”   That’s the way it is with anger.  The hatred in you only consumes you – it never reaches them.   If you need to get it out of your system, go to the gym.  Or punch your pillow.   Or wash my car.  Or yodel.   Whatever you do –  don’t poison my well or wall in the process.

One last thing…

The Apostle Paul did not have an easy life, particularly as a Christian.   In II Corinthians 11 he summarizes his drama:

“I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea,  I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers. I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches. Who is weak, and I do not feel weak?  Who is led into sin, and I do not inwardly burn?”

Has your day, week or life been harder than that?  

Paul wrote the book of Philippians from a Roman jail cell.  While he was a prisoner in less than humane conditions, he posted the following to his Facebook wall:

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”  (4:8)

Who doesn’t benefit from that kind of status update?