There’s something that’s been stirring in my heart lately, something that is so hard to explain… but you know I have to try.
I call her The Facebook Christian. “Her”, because I see a lot of myself in her words and actions. Well-intentioned. Heart for God. Convictions firmly planted. Loved by many. Lover of many. Defender of many. Offender of many. Something’s just a little, teensy bit off. Don’t get me wrong… right off the bat I can say I’ve brought my Facebook/blog to hell and back, so no one’s condemning here. There’s just a little something off.
We all have morals, values, beliefs, and Facebook is undoubtedly the platform of choice for many of us to voice these openly. As a place to feel — if only for the brief second it takes to click ‘enter’ — Free. Bold. Entitled. It’s OUR page, after all.
But what if we’re not using it in the way that paints the best picture of Christians as a whole? I’ve been guilty, so to speak, of using Facebook as my spiritual checklist of sorts. I say ‘spiritual’, but it’s really more religious… works and striving and doing doing doing and pressure to be better and having checklists and feeling guilty for not being perfect or saying the right thing… that’s just plain miserable. That’s not what I want for my life, online or off.
I’ll give a few examples of some very basic Facebook Christian behavior:
- Post a Bible verse today. Check.
- Share/like a political/inspirational/Jesus-y quote, article or story. Check.
Ahh, feels good to be a Facebook Christian. So fulfilling to stand up for what I believe! Sort of. Let’s try it some more! (And this is where the lines start getting blurry… naturally. We’re human.)
- Leave a comment on a charged post about homosexuals, Duck Dynasty, The Election, rear-facing car seats, vaccines, breastfeeding until age 5, Chik-fil-A, etc. Check.
- BONUS POINTS for use of a Bible verse to prove your point. Check.
- Passive-aggressively ‘like’ a photo of the friend who you’re in a fight with, juuust to let her know you’re still keeping tabs and that of course you don’t mind that she’s having fun without you! (But you totally do mind.) Check.
- Stalk an ex. Only a quick peek… Check.
- Message an ex. BUT! just to see how life is treating them. Check.
- Post a borderline cleavagey girl’s night picture where you hid the margarita out of the camera’s view. Check.
- Intentionally hide a post from your parents, boss, church friends, etc. because they’d “judge” your behavior. Check.
Again, I’ve done all of these at some point and I’m not pointing fingers at any one person (SERIOUSLY. I love you all and am trying to look inward here.), but are you sort of getting what I’m trying to say? We do these things that aren’t necessarily fabulous one day, and still expect the world to listen when we have something to say that is actually meaningful, with purpose, with true LOVE as a motivator. Because we all know that DOES happen sometimes! We do have good intentions and a heart for God! No one is arguing that here. Just because I’m a Christian doesn’t mean I don’t struggle with things. I’m sad to say though, the world probably doesn’t always listen to/read those pure, good things we have to say. They may roll their eyes. They may think, Bigot. Hypocrite. Preachy. And when we think we’re being neutral by posting photos of our kids, all they can think is, “Oh there’s Bigot’s kids! Too bad. They’re cute.”
I’m not meaning to sound harsh, again. And yes, I know ‘persecution’ is all part of the job, but if I’m going to be persecuted, I want to have my side of the street clean so it’s ACTUALLY persecution and not just something I had coming because of my big mouth or because I flew off the handle about abortion in a moment of sleep deprived rage.
Personally, I’m just done doing the Susie Christian Facebook thing. I love the Lord and people know it already. I’ll talk/share when He leads me to do so without regret, but never again out of anger. That’s not God. Never again if it’s going to hurt those I’m called to love, regardless of their lifestyle. That’s not God behavior either because God is love. And never again because I feel the need to fulfill an imaginary religious checklist. God doesn’t have a check list for me! Or you. We are in right standing WHERE WE ARE. That’s the beauty of loving Jesus. The “work” has been done. It’s not about what we say anyway, it’s about what’s behind it. What’s motivating it. Who is motivating it.
It’s been a tough thing to put into practice, this ‘walk the walk’ thing, I’m telling you. I don’t have it down yet, but if it means not being seen as just another Facebook Christian and instead as a woman who really WALKS it, LIVES it, BREATHES it… then count me in.
And now I’m off to post this on my Facebook page… ;)