A friend of mine is a very capable counselor who has worked with church leaders for decades. He recently told me, “Facebook is keeping my calendar filled. Over the past year just about every church leader I have seen who has had an affair told me it started on Facebook.”
This is a wake-up call to any Christian who is on Facebook. Men AND women. I know of way too many women who have left their husbands to connect with someone they reconnected with on Facebook. We must be careful.
Here are some practical things we can do to be faithful on Facebook (note: most of this advice is directed towards men):
1) Don’t accept a friend request from young women you don’t know who are dressed provocatively in their profile picture. And–especially is she’s especially “hot”–don’t justify accepting the friend request because you “thought she was a young member of our church who might have some questions about the church that she needs answered before she can commit to becoming a member.”
2) Enter into an accountability relationship with another Christian man who will ask you regularly about your interactions with other women (or men) on Facebook. Tell your accountability partner to ask you questions like, “Are you indulging in anything that feels inappropriate to you?”, “Has a female friend on Facebook shared anything with you that you wouldn’t feel comfortable sharing with your wife?” “Have you shared anything with another ‘friend’ on Facebook that your wife would find inappropriate?” “Are you looking at pictures on Facebook that are causing you to lust?”
3) Share an account with your wife.
4) Give your Facebook password to your wife or accountability partner and ask them to check your account every week. Tell them to ask you, “Have you deleted anything that we might consider inappropriate.”
5) Agree that you and your spouse will only go on Facebook in a public area of your home with the screen in full view of one another.
6) Un-friend anyone who tempts you in any way to do, say, look at, anything that is inappropriate for a follower of Jesus.
7) Get off Facebook if it’s causing you to sin regularly. As Jesus would say, “If you Facebook account is causing you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one social networking opportunity than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.”
8 ) Put a picture of your wife and kids next to your computer monitor. (I do this with my laptop on road-trips.) It’s a powerful deterrent to sin.
9) Use a picture of your wife and kids as your screen saver.
10) Don’t hide your faith on Facebook. If you regularly put scriptures, sermon quotes, Christian statements, etc. on Facebook, it may help to keep you–and any one who may want to reconnect with you in sinful ways–honest.
11) If you are married, don’t search for old girlfriends or boyfriends on Facebook. It may be innocent curiosity at first, but there’s nothing holy to be gained. And don’t give me that garbage about “only wanting to reconnect with them so you can share your faith with them.”
12) If you are looking at something or writing something on Facebook that you’d be embarrassed for your 10-year-old son or daughter to see, then you are doing something inappropriate that needs to stop.
13) Don’t get on Facebook after your spouse goes to sleep unless you have his/her permission and the agreement that they can review your Facebook history in the morning. And, at this point, let me say something to the readers of this blog who aren’t technically savvy. People, you need to know how to check the history feature on your computer. Check it often and if the history on your computer is always empty after your wife/husband uses the computer you need to start asking some serious questions because he/she is hiding something.
14) Pray for purity before you log onto Facebook.
Do you have any other ideas I can add to this list? Put them in the comments and I’ll post them.