by Skeet Savage
I have a question for you. You were talking about how we need to realize that others may not be in the same place spiritually. A woman who is not a believer, but tells my daughter she wants to get back to church, keeps posting photos online of men which are offensive to me and also asking her friends why anyone would have a book burning on [a popular book series]. I listened to a discussion of these books on a Christian radio station so I knew they were not good books to read because they are very immoral. I wanted to delete her from my page, but then I thought maybe I should explain how I feel about these posts. I am always afraid I will say things wrong and make someone think I am better than them when I certainly am not. I would love to know if you have found a good way to deal with this and if I should delete her [from my friends list]. My daughter is upset with what she sees also when the woman acts and says things making one think she cares about God.
— FRIEND? OR ... UNFRIEND?
Before I respond directly to the heart of your question, please allow me to address a critical issue that I see interwoven within the context of your question: I would issue a word of caution here at the outset with regards to the interaction of children on facebook and other social media sites. You don’t state your daughter’s age, so I will assume that she is young and still of an age where you bear the responsibility to nurture and train her in the ways of the Lord. Children are to be brought up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord and NOT in the worldly “wisdom” and ways of those who would seek to use such media as a platform to flaunt and justify their rebellious and un-Godly lifestyles. Until an older child (young adult) has shown themselves to be strong in the Spirit, and demonstrated maturity through practical application of Holy wisdom, they should not be put in a position where they are personally interactive with evil doers or the unregenerate.
“For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine; and you say, ‘He has a devil.’ The Son of man is come eating and drinking; and you say, ‘Behold a gluttonous man, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners!’ But wisdom is justified of all her children” (Luke 7:33-35).
Jesus’ motivation for hanging out with sinners was always redemptive—and the result was that everyone was uplifted and enlightened for having spent time in His presence. When Christ is ruling and reigning in us, He will respond no differently than what was witnessed and recorded in the Biblical accounts of His life.
If we are not purposeful in our relationships, the end result will not be positive. Make no mistake: Bad company corrupts.
“Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. Awake to righteousness, and sin not” (1 Corinthians 15:33-34).
It is not a sin to befriend a sinner—it is sin to be like them and do as they do.
When you interact with sinners on a personal level, you will encounter attitudes and behavior that you may find offensive. If your purpose for connecting with them is redemptive, you will eventually see them beginning to change for the better as the light of the Lord shining through you overcomes their darkness. If you have any ideas of simply being a buddy to them—one who goes out of the way to never offend them in any way, and tries to act as if there is nothing wrong with the sinner’s lifestyle—you will have lost your opportunity to be effective for the sake of the gospel, and you run the very strong risk of becoming more like them (rather than the other way around).
If your own purpose for being on facebook is to shine as a light for the glory of God and to lead others to Jesus, then you will welcome every opportunity for interaction with those who do not yet know the Lord as their Savior.
Personally, I have facebook contacts that fit in both categories. On any given day, there are those who are a great spiritual encouragement to me, and there are those who are there in need of encouragement.
I don’t expect unbelievers to obey God and follow His Word in all things because they are yet unregenerate. Therefore, I am not surprised when they act in a way that reflects their lost state -- no matter how much I may be unimpressed with their crude language, immodest dress, worldly attitudes, etc. However, I am not put off by such behaviors. Rather, I recognize such symptoms as confirmation of the universal need for salvation.
“Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.” (Psalm 119:165).
Because I do have a wide variety of friends from all walks of life who gather on my facebook page, regardless of their spiritual condition, I do expect people who post on my page to treat each other with respect and dignity—even when there may be disagreement.
In this technologically-advanced age in which we live, we might easily forget that Jesus faced similar relational circumstances and showed us exactly how to respond to such situations—to the amazement (and even disgust) of those around Him!
“And upon this came His disciples, and marvelled that He talked with the woman: yet no man said, ‘What seekest Thou?’ or, ‘Why talkest Thou with her?’ The woman then left her waterpot, and went her way into the city, and said to the men, ‘Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: Is not this the Christ?’” (John 4:27-29).
Had Jesus avoided any interaction with this woman simply because she was still living in sin, we would not have this glorious example and account of Jesus’ compassion and redemption. Had Jesus sought to be “humanly sensitive” (rather than tuned in to the Spirit) and avoided any discussion that addressed her sinful lifestyle, she would not have recognized her need for the Savior who spoke those wonderful words of life to her that day.
Personally, I am not on Facebook to, in essence, only hang out with those who are “like-minded,” or to virtually pat the backs of those who are already in basic mental agreement with me on any number of issues. My purpose in any form of human interaction will be governed by Biblical guidelines and applied as needed depending on the situation or circumstance. This means that on any given day, my interaction with others in any context will include words that encourage, rebuke, exhort, challenge, stir up, comfort, confront, expose ... and, in every case, point others (whether they be sinners or Saints) to the Lord.
So, when you encounter a woman at the well of your Facebook page who obviously does not know the Lord, I would encourage you to follow the example of Jesus. Pray not only for her salvation in general but, also, that God might grant you the blessed privilege of leading her safely HOME to Jesus.
Skeet Savage is a veteran homeschool mother of six, the founder of Wisdom’s Gate Ministries, and editor of An Encouraging Word and Home School Digest. She is a dedicated teacher/mentor/discipler, an inspiring and challenging speaker at ladies events, seminars and conferences. Skeet is the author of the books, Letters to Grandma: Wise Counsel for Women of All Ages (Volume 1), Conversations About Life (Volume 2), Choose Wisdom, and Homeschooling for Eternity. (To order, see page 56 or visit www.WisdomsGate.org.) To invite Skeet to speak at your next event, email firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, visit: www.SkeetSavage.com. All rights reserved.
This article was published in An Encouraging Word issue #69, and may not be reprinted or distributed in any form without express written consent from the publisher. All Rights Reserved.