Recently, a friend of mine quit Facebook. He didn’t just take a break. It wasn’t for Lent. He deleted his account and is never coming back. Basically, a divorce.
In preparation for this, he wrote a rather impassioned letter explaining his motivation. It included the various ways that Facebook was stealing his attention, personal time, focus, and more. Facebook got thrown under the bus and didn’t come out the other side in one piece. The response on his blog was very positive and a discussion ensued. He strongly challenged others to follow his lead.
This isn’t the first person I’ve seen quit Facebook. At some point, most people have taken at least a break. With good reason. The statistics are glaring, we have a hard time staying away. Stealing glances here and there. Busily taking selfies and posting pictures of our most memorable times. Instead of experiencing these moments we gripe about slow upload speeds.
I, though, have got a problem with this “I’m quitting Facebook” mantra.
Why? Facebook is not our problem. Our own relational brokenness is the problem. Facebook is just the latest magnifying glass of this fact. We need to stop making Facebook the scapegoat for our own immaturity. It is not the root of our problems, never has been, never will be.
Quitting alone won’t deal with the root issue that consistently leads us to choose virtual relationships over real relationships. Blaming Facebook hides our real problem. The problem is in our hearts.
Here’s what I would like to see. Instead of saying, “I’m quitting Facebook, it wastes my time and ruins lives! It is the root of all evil!”
I would like some real honesty. How about this:
“I’m quitting Facebook because I have made a simple website a priority over actually talking to my kids. That’s my reality. I consistently look at my news feed instead of listening to people. I post pictures while on dates with my husband. I have made a helpful thing into a hurtful thing in my life and relationships. The problem is me. I’ve got some basic maturity issues that I need to look at. For whatever reason, I can’t be trusted as a member of a silly website. I’ve got to figure that out. Facebook is not my problem but I can’t be trusted with it either.”
That is a declaration I’ve never seen but perhaps we should see more often.
I do a one week series of lectures on Relationships. The first day always deals with the state of isolation we all find ourselves in. Some students come from hyper-connected backgrounds, online all the time. Some students don’t own a laptop, cell phone and are not members of Facebook or any other social network.
You know what is fascinating? They all weep equally as they confess, one by one, how alone and isolated they feel. Membership in Facebook didn’t cause it. It’s the human condition. Since the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve sinned, all people are born searching for a real relationship with God and one another.
Thankfully we’ve got Jesus. He doesn’t rescue us from Social Networks. But he does rescue us from our real and true isolation. Because of Jesus we can be brought near to God and brought near to one another.
Let’s all together stop blaming Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and whatever else is yet to come along. When we quit Facebook out of blame we have not dealt with the true source of our problem.
Let’s deal with the real problem. Let us confess our isolation. Let us do the brave work of moving towards one another in real relationship.
Until then, we’ve got Facebook to keep each other posted on what we ate for dinner.
How about you? Is your participation in Social Networks reflecting a healthy or unhealthy heart?