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Wow! I have lost yet another friend on Facebook! I had 503 and now I have 502. I guess I am going to cry! Not really. Listen, I am trying to live my life the best that I can for God. I will take a stand. Sometimes, taking a stand for God is not popular. But I have never really cared about popularity. I just want to do what is righteous in the eyes of God. I have friends on both sides of the aisle. They know what I believe. I still love them and care for them dearly. But I cannot compromise my beliefs. If I lost all of my friends, it still would not matter. One day, we will all have to make a choice. Either deny Christ or die. I am not looking forward to that day, but I will never deny my God and Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

If one is a friend with me on Facebook, they are either family, a Christian, someone I have met in business, or a client. My Facebook page is my personal page. It is where I can share my faith and hopefully, minister to others. If someone does not want to see my posts, they could ignore them. To unfriend means rejection. But that is okay with me. If they were TRULY a friend, then they would accept me for being me.

Many people turn to social media as a way to communicate with others. They get caught up into how many “LIKES” that they can get in order to feel accepted and loved by their so-called “Friends.” The fact is those “Friends” probably do not have your best interests at heart. Many people, especially teenagers are looking for acceptance through any means available. Social media is one way of gaining acceptability and sparking their ego with many “Likes.” But if one is “unfriended,” a person’s self-esteem may already be low, and they may be devastated by the fact that someone has rejected them. “Yet for some, being digitally deleted by their contacts can be bruising to the ego — even if the relationships aren’t close” (The Canada Press, 2015).

“There’s this idea that unfriending on Facebook is like an active step that you take to tell somebody: ‘I don’t like you. I don’t want to see your stuff anymore'” (The Canada Press, 2015). People who have a low self-esteem may take this as a rejection and may resort to depression or even harming one self. It appears that some people so wrapped up in social media take offense when someone they actually do not know in real life “unfriends” them. It is very sad that people have stopped building friendships and relationships naturally by personal interaction. I have actually seen families communicate via texting sitting in the same home or at the dinner table.

Technology is a wonderful tool, but if used incorrectly, can be devastating in people’s lives. For example, take a pastor who needs to check on a congregational member who may have had a family loss or who may be facing a surgery. I believe the correct method of contact is either picking up the telephone and calling them or get into his car and go to them, if at all possible. When pastors text a congregational member who is in need of prayer, consultation, or comfort; texting is not appropriate and is impersonal.

The Internet can be an impersonal place and yet many use social media as a way to communicate in their lives. Social media means so much to some people, that they neglect their own family and personal relationships. Some teenagers are so addicted to their smart phones that if a parent took it away, they would almost have a breakdown. Their smart phones are their lifelines to others and if their phone were broken or taken away, I am sure the situation and interaction would not be pleasant to either the child or the parent.

In my opinion, a parent should not ever give a child a smart phone because by doing so, you are introducing that child to a world of information that the child may not be mature enough to process. For example, some cellular companies cannot implement parental controls on certain types of smart phones. If a child wonders on the Internet, they can be exposed to pornography. A parent cannot control what or where a child goes using their smart phone. This is not even scratching the surface. Texting in itself leads to problems. Teenager’s sexting pictures of themselves to boys and girls, and then that picture get circulated. In actuality, the child has just distributed child pornography and has committed a felony and could be found guilty and have to register as a sex offender. Many of you reading this will think I have gone to the extreme, but the fact is that Virginia is prosecuting these types of cases.

As parents, if we allow our children the freedom to do what they want on the Internet or buying and allowing them to use smart phones, we have potentially caused them harm because of the dangers of the Internet. I wonder how many parents look at their kid’s Twitter feeds or their Facebook posts? My child did not like it that I snooped and watched her social media. I did it because I love her! I have always wanted the best for her! I asked questions. I wanted to know what she meant by certain things she said. I got involved and ran interference when I thought something might have been inappropriate language.

Parents. Listen to what I am saying! If you really love your child, PROTECT them from harm. Watch their social media. Know what they are saying. Monitor their computer and smart phones. If your child will not allow you to monitor them, take their phones away as well as their computer. Protect your child from the predators on the Internet. When your child becomes so addictive to social media, then the “friending”, “unfriending” and the “Likes” will dominate their lives. Be their parent and not their friend! If you really love your children, you will be their parent first and guard them against the evil of predators.

So how did we go from an adult being “unfriended” to teenagers and children? The fact is that social media has affected everyone’s lives. Social media has almost become one’s church and god. It has become people’s lives and many may live their lives through other people’s experiences. When social media becomes more important than having personal relationships in “real life,” then it becomes an addiction. The Bible says in Exodus 20: 3 “You shall have no other gods before me.” When we as Christians place more emphasis on social media than reading and studying God’s Word, then we have in fact placed social media on a higher level than God.

Think about it! If we put anything ahead of God, we are sinning. I am not saying not to have a social media account. What I am saying is that moderation is the key! Please do not let the “Like”, “Friending” or “Unfriending” affect your walk with Christ. God wants a personal relationship with each of you. He loves you and He sent His one and only Son to die for you and to redeem you from your sins. In John 3: 16-17, the Bible says “ For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” If you are looking for acceptance and you do not want to be “unfriended”, then God will never “unfriend” you if you give your heart to Christ.

As a Christian who is in love with Christ and loves God, there will be many people who despise God. And if they despise God, they will despise a follower of Jesus Christ. But I would rather be despised by the world than to be rejected by God. I love my God and I have committed my life to a lifetime of service to Christ.  Service to Christ means living one’s life in a manner that is pleasing to God. It means to follow God’s standards of living and obeying God’s commandments as well as acting as Christ would act. It means sharing one’s faith with others. I pray that you will find love and acceptance that is found only through Jesus Christ and only in God’s love.

References:

The Canada Press. (2015). CBCNews / Science & Technology. Retrieved 2015, from CBCNews : http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/facebook-unfriending-why-you-should-think-twice-1.3154487

 Joseph T. Lee, Managing Partner, The Lantern & Shield Times LLC © November 4, 2017.
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Joseph Lee is an entrepreneur who owns a “Christ Centered” business as well as he is involved in Marketplace Evangelism & Discipleship. He most recently graduated from Liberty University Rawlings School of Divinity with a Masters in Christian Ministry. His focus was Pastoral Ministries. He will continue to work as a co-vocational pastor/businessman in the corporate world. In previous professions, Joseph was in law enforcement and was almost killed in the line of duty. It was then that he realized that God had spared his life and he was being called into the ministry. Joseph has also been involved in a music ministry and co-produced his solo album called “Shield of Faith” which is offered on iTunes. He also has a diverse background in acting and has appeared in a major motion picture as well as on several television shows on the Discovery Channel. God has changed his life in a way that he is on fire for Christ and shares the Gospel with all who are lost without hope. It is only through his faith in God and Christ that he is pursuing co-vocational ministry in the marketplace. Joseph is the Managing Partner, an Editor, and a Contributor for The Lantern & Shield Times for Faith and other news stories.

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