“So don’t make judgments about anyone ahead of time—before the Lord returns. For He will bring our darkest secrets to light and will reveal our private motives. Then God will give to each one whatever praise is due.”
1 Corinthians 4:5
Many of you are probably seasoned Facebook enthusiasts. I jumped on board only a few years ago and mainly so that I could keep up with what is going on with our children and grandchildren. My husband and I live quite some distance away from them and often it seems like we are the last ones to hear what is happening in their lives. Facebook has helped us stay more connected. At the very least, we get to view all the cute pictures of the grandkids we would have otherwise missed seeing!
Since I am relatively new to social networking, and due to a general lack of interest, I am somewhat uninformed about many of Facebook’s features. Although the List setting has probably been around for quite some time, I only recently discovered it. I was researching information about privacy settings for Facebook as it relates to personal timelines and pages. While searching, I came across this whole concept of creating lists as a tool for customizing what one shares. By their own Help definition, “Lists give you an optional way to share a post with a custom audience or exclude some people from a post.”
Once generated, lists act as filters for personal status updates or posts. One can even view how their personal timeline appears to each category of listed individuals. The whole concept seems rather benign on the surface. Very likely, most who utilize this Facebook feature do so because of privacy concerns. Some may even want to separate their personal lives from business for similar reasons. Others may simply organize their friends into categories of close friends versus acquaintances. However, plenty others may create segregated Friend lists in an attempt to compartmentalize their lives based on aspects of their behaviors or views. Some on their List can know certain things they say and do, while others cannot.
In essence, Facebook Lists enables users to screen or hide certain aspects of their lives from others. When done for security issues, the filters are always justified. When utilized for communicating extremely personal sentiments to closest friends only, lists are understandable. However, when created for the sole purpose of hiding particulars of one’s life, lists then become avenues for secrecy and automatically arouse suspicion. Lists used for this reason epitomize a person trying to live a compartmentalized, secret-filled life.
With these Lists, keeping secrets can work. Children can cleverly hide from their parents any subversive behaviors or inappropriate posts. Employees can cloak from their superiors unacceptable off-duty choices or unethical remarks. Spouses can disguise from their mates unfaithful relationships or suggestive gestures. With Facebook, secret profiles may work. On God’s timeline, they do not.
God sees everything. One day, each of us will stand before His throne and give an accounting for the things we have done. In Mark 4, it is clear that God is our judge and nobody else. Before Him on Judgment day, all secrets, whether sinful in nature or not, will be revealed. So will the motives behind them. Since we will each stand before Him, it would behoove us to keep our lives undefiled. It is certain that nothing kept hidden ever goes unnoticed by God.
Those who generate Facebook Lists in an attempt to cover up portions of their lives are only fooling themselves into believing that nobody knows. They can continue to play a game of ‘Hide’ by using custom categories of Friends, but God sees every hidden Status Update and all components of their Personal Timelines. In the end, they will discover that what they tried to hide, the Light will fully reveal.
What is of particular concern is when Christians resort to such secrecy. Our lives are supposed to be like candlesticks with the light of God’s presence shining openly. Luke reminds followers of Christ,
“For nothing is secret, that shall not be made manifest; neither [any thing] hid, that shall not be known and come abroad.” Luke 8:17
The gospel should not stay hidden in Christians, nor should they be hiding secret sins.
What everyone should be doing is seeking God, not hiding. We should be seeking His face, seeking Him while He may be found, seeking Him like for hidden treasure, seeking Him with all our heart, and seeking Him first. When seeking Him becomes our focus, hiding secrets will not be our desire. Sins we commit will be brought continually before the throne in order to be cleansed, allowing Him to make every area of our lives like an open book anyone can read. There will not be any devious compartments on Facebook which only certain people can view.
More than anyone else, we should want to Friend Jesus. He wants to make us His own and to call us friends. In His Book are the names of those friends, but He does not separate them into lists of those He loves more. Because of that love, we should want God’s friendship and to spend our lives seeking Him first.
Facebook is fine and a great way to stay connected with family and friends. God wants to stay connected with us, too. Knowing that, is there ever any reason for hiding secrets that would separate us from a True friend?