There’s a lot of Facebook hate out there, let’s be honest.
Even people who use Facebook post about why they hate Facebook and everyone shouldn’t use it.
Usually, while they’re on Facebook.
But, for me, Facebook was a godsend.
It was an answer to prayer in a very lonely and low time in my life.
I joined Facebook because I was asked to help coordinate a 10-year college reunion which then morphed into a 10-year birthday party for the oldest children 6 or 7 families.
The parents had all gone to college together, got married, and a few years later had their first child within a few months of each other.
So, that’s how I ended up on Facebook.
I never had a MySpace account.
We didn’t even have a computer with anything but very slow dial-up until 2009. That’s just part of living rurally.
I joined in July of 2009, right after we moved into our current house which had high-speed internet.
Oh, the worlds that were suddenly open to me!
While I had actually blogged prior to 2009, anything done on dial-up is done with great pains.
By 2010, my illness took a turn.
We didn’t know what was wrong, but I was definitely getting worse.
That same year we left our church, and with our leaving came gaping holes of trauma left in its wake.
My entire support system fell apart as even family and friends who I thought would support me fell away over my perceived shortcomings that would eventually be labeled and diagnosed –but not for a few years yet.
In that moment Facebook began to fill a need that I didn’t even realize I had.
1) Spiritual encouragement via online devotions, posts, and memes.
The ability to see what others were going through and how they responded was inspiring!
Especially the ones who chose to be real and open about their lives.
It not only helped my spiritual walk but it motivated me towards the writing I’m doing now.
2) Medical advice and information.
Before the internet, the only way to find medical information outside of a clinic was medical journals and books.
Now, there are thousands of people in Facebook groups with similar symptoms all sharing, comparing notes, empowering and encouraging each other to find answers.
This was a huge step toward answers for me.
I have ADHD and a rare personality type (ENFJ if you’re familiar with Myers-Briggs temperaments).
The combination of those two things has made making and keeping friends challenging.
This has been the case my entire life.
Even though I’m outgoing I don’t make and keep friends easily.
I have always struggled to find the kind of deep, kindred friendships my heart desired.
In fact, some people are so put off by my personality that they’re offended even if I have done nothing offensive and even if I try to get along with them.
This has caused me grief since I was a child.
On Facebook, I started finding people like me: moms with ADHD who homeschool their kids and have chronic health problems and have similar personalities as I do.
Finally, people who understand me!
I’ve never felt more loved and accepted by people outside my own family than I do with these friends I’ve made on Facebook.
Every last one of our local homeschooling friends and every activity we participate on is a product of Facebook interaction –usually in homeschool Facebook groups but not always.
My educational choices, my homeschooling philosophy, and much more was all I influenced by things I was exposed to on Facebook.
Years before I started this blog, I started writing on Facebook.
Notes, posts, comments, links –anything I could do to encourage others.
I didn’t want anyone else to feel alone like I did.
I developed a circle of friends who are a support system like nothing I’ve had in my life before.
It’s quite amazing and humbling.
But, it came at a price.
While I’m very grateful for the opportunities that Facebook has brought my way, I’m not unaware of the hazards of opening your mind and essentially your home to the entirety of mankind for their every whim and opinion.
This is why prudence is so vital.
While I don’t hate Facebook –by any means– I’m a big advocate of reigning in the influence of the online world.
On the one hand — the good hand — Facebook is much like pen pal letters that my friends and I were so fond of in the 80s and 90s.
You see a little glimpse into the person’s soul every time they write, and you have the potential to know them deeply and see parts of them that they wouldn’t always show in person.
On the other hand — the bad hand — you see a glimpse of the person’s soul every time they write, and that can be a scary thing when you’re exposed to dark souls.
Not only that, but groups of people on Facebook can function like playground bullies.
Every evil imaginable is accessible via Facebook and represented by a group.
Case in point: I stumbled upon a group endorsing necrophilia once.
I’ve seen pornography and bestiality videos posted in mothering and homeschooling groups by people trolling.
People have been murdered on Facebook live streaming.
That’s just the tip of the iceberg.
It’s important to note here that Facebook is an inanimate object.
As such it is amoral.
It is neither good nor bad.
It just is.
It becomes good or bad based on what we do with it.
Let me explain.
Duct tape is amoral, neither good nor bad.
If I use it to tie you up and kidnap you, I’ve used it for evil.
If I make duct tape wallets and give them to the neighbor children, I’ve used it for good.
The duct tape just exists, and what I do with it is good or bad.
My choices are good or bad, not the duct tape.
This is an important thing to understand.
Just because something is used for evil doesn’t make the thing evil.
Because Facebook –and basically the entire internet– is opening our home up to the entire evil of the world, we must be vigilant and prudent in the choices we make.
This is the reason my children are not on Facebook.
This is the reason I have so few Facebook friends and have limited my feed and notifications.
While I don’t hate Facebook, I do think we tend to overuse it, over expose ourselves, over stress ourselves, and generally not be prudent.
As believers, we should limit what’s coming into our minds and hearts to be only what would honor the Lord.
We should reject everything else and be intentional about our choices.
I pray that we will be.
While Facebook can be a blessing, it can also be a curse and a scourge.
How we use it makes the difference.