Affairs on Facebook - A Warning to Christians

From a few real-life stories I have heard lately, Facebook is apparently a good place to start an affair.  A big part of Facebook is reconnecting with people from your past, but often for Christians, some of the people in your past are not people you should be reconnecting with.  Sometimes what seems like innocent flirting with an “old flame” can lead to the destruction of a marriage and the breaking apart of a family.  I have recently heard about 3 such cases of Christian marriages being critically damaged as a result of affairs started on Facebook.

Part of the problem is that Christians often what to be quick to embrace new technology in order to connect with the “culture” and be “relevant”.  As a leader in new media, I of course am in favor of the Church leveraging new technologies and media for Kingdom purposes.  But I also know that Christians must be wise and circumspect in our use of new technologies.

Ever wonder why many Amish communities do not drive cars, but they have tractors on their farms?  They are obviously not opposed to the technology of the engine.  So what is it?  While in business school at Regent I studied a little about this, and one researcher who studied the Amish said that they carefully consider each new technology and weigh how it will affect their values.  They ask, “How will this car affect this present and future generations of our families?”  “How will it affect their Christian faith, their relationship to their families, and their way of life?”  After careful consideration, they determined that the long-term affects of cars would be that families would drift apart.  Brothers would live in separate states from their sisters, children would move away from their parents, and grandparents would only see their grandchildren a few times a year.  For the Amish, this was unacceptable.  They valued the close family unit as more precious than the economic gain that cars might provide them.

So am I saying we need to adopt the ways of the Amish?  Well, not completely.  But we do need to “stop and think” before embracing new technologies, and think HOW they should be used.

I don’t have all of the answers on the best ways to use Facebook, but I have might offer a few suggestions for your consideration:

1. Give your spouse your Facebook password, and permission to log into your Facebook account at any time.  Don’t feel ashamed to do it like you are guilty of something.  You can print this and show to them and just say “I think this is a good idea- here is my password.  I love you and never want to leave any door open for an attack on our marriage.”  Having that kind of openness and accountability in your marriage will build a trust and deeper relationship.

2. If you are tempted by lust, consider signing up for a service like Bsafe Online.  We have promoted this service for years and I can say that it has helped thousands of men and families.

3. Don’t accept all friend requests.  If you don’t know someone, or if they are a “blast from the past” that if you stop and think about you don’t have too good of a past with, just ignore their friend request.  It is OK to just have 30 friends on Facebook- it doesn’t mean you are not as cool as the guy who has 200.  It’s not Jr. High…you are an adult…OK?

I hope these 3 suggestions helps someone, and that you consider how you will use new technologies in your life.  I like Facebook, and many of the things I have learned on Facebook and other social networking sites will be features on the new site.  But I hope we can build a site that is safe for everyone and protects marriages.  Please continue to keep us in your prayers as we build the new site and other Christian websites.  May we build something that makes a difference in the lives of Christians and is a tool for churches to build better communities and unite the Body of Christ.