(Abridged from an article by Kenny Luck)
I call it the “Facebook Fumble” because more than a third of divorce filings last year contained the word “Facebook,” according to a survey by Divorce Online, a UK-based legal services firm. The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers says 81% of its members have used or faced evidence plucked from Facebook or other social networking sites over the last five years. And, 66% of the lawyers surveyed cited Facebook foibles as the source of online evidence with 1 in 5 adults reported to use Facebook for flirting.
- Facebook is one ball you don’t want to drop. It can bring you down. It can ruin the “trust” in a marriage, and lead to affairs — virtual or physical.
Tips to Avoid the Facebook Fumble
Begin by honestly establishing your plan with Facebook. Sounds silly, but take a minute to establish your mission, and align it with God’s mission, and how Facebook can serve as a tool. Then, put in the following measures:
1. Watch What You’re Looking At
Your eyes can lead you to think about someone or something, which can lead you to act in ways that do not reflect [God’s people]. So many times in the Bible, the word “eyes” and “sin” are connected. In the Lord’s Prayer Jesus taught us to ask God to “lead us not into temptation.” Then in Mark 14:38, we’re warned to “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” So, be on alert when on Facebook, and watch what you’re looking at so you can avoid being tempted.
2. Watch What or Who You’re Looking For
Ask yourself, what’s my motive for being on Facebook? And, remind yourself every time you go there. Find some old friends. Share your interests or engage people to follow you and your brand — all healthy stuff. But don’t use Facebook to find trouble. Trouble will find you easily enough. In Proverbs, we learn that “motives are weighed by the Lord” so examine yours regularly before you go looking on Facebook.
3. Watch What You Say and Do
Your words and actions on Facebook are tracked, depending on your Privacy settings. So seemingly harmless “Likes” of photos or flirtatious “Comments” can illustrate a track record of your character breaches. More importantly, your words and actions reflect what’s going on inside your heart and the true mission you are trying to accomplish. And, if you’re married, don’t get into conversations with the opposite sex about their personal lives which can create attachments that precede affairs of the heart, mind and body.
Establish this rule: Do not engage through social media in private conversations with anyone of the opposite sex other than your spouse, parents, and siblings.
Reality-check time! True transparency is only possible if someone else is watching. Ask a close friend, or your spouse, to follow your “Wall” and your actions as a “Close Friend.” You may want to give them your password info so they can help make any instant course corrections. Marriage is sacred and your word is your reputation. So get a watchdog and make changes to your Facebook life. God’s people humbly admit their mistakes, do what’s right and stop doing what is wrong.
5. Watch How God Can Use Facebook
If your mission aligns with God’s, and you watch what and who you’re looking at, examine your motives and what you say and do, and have some accountability, then Facebook can encourage others by sharing scripture, life learnings, maintaining relationships, providing helpful idea and entertaining.