Why One Woman Hasn’t Quit Facebook

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Imagine this:

A pastor preaches a sermon on compassion.

Said pastor’s wife listens to said sermon and begins to wonder how God could use her more in the area of compassion. She’s chronically ill, and to add something more into her schedule seems too taxing. To say it in Scriptural eloquence … her spirit is willing, but her flesh is weak.

So she prays about it:

Lord, what would you have me to do? Lord, show me someone who needs compassion.

The next day, she’s flat on her back. She wakes up with a kinked neck that grows worse by the hour, and by mid-afternoon, her only choice is to stay completely still or suffer painful muscle zingers that make her cry like Westley on the torture table in Princess Bride.

Compassion! she huffs. Who has energy for that?

To pass the time and get her mind off her pain, she reads a book. She texts her kids away from home and talks in person to the one still living at home. She reads a handful of suggested links on Facebook. Makes a few comments in the hopes that her words might make a difference, but is skeptical as to whether her opinion will be valued.

Why this, Lord? Why am I required to be still when I want to do, do, do? Upright. That’s what I want to be, spiritually and physically. And yet you knock me down.

She sleeps a while. Talks to her hubby when he comes home. Gives him a few cooking instructions for the chili she had planned to cook. She checks Facebook again and runs across a video that exhibits the exact opposite of compassion. There was hilarity in the video, and she thought it was funny enough to share with others who had heard the sermon on compassion, as an example of what not to say and do.

She uploads the video and hits “share.” By late evening, the video prompts a private conversation that surveys the ins and outs of compassion and provides an opportunity to show empathy to a hurting woman who has suffered for decades with unbearable grief because of excruciating circumstances that nobody could control.

Now, if her neck was healthy, the video wouldn’t have been posted. The conversation wouldn’t have taken place. Perhaps the heart of the one who messaged her would have gone to bed hurting more than it needed to. Feeling more alone than it truly was. And maybe her heart would’ve gone to bed still hoping for a chance to show compassion. She had prayed for opportunities. But she wasn’t prepared for the answer she would receive. She had pictured working in a soup kitchen, giving money and time to a panhandler, or (not kidding) adopting a baby. But God had other plans – at least for that day.

This is why she hasn’t quit Facebook. Oh, she wants to. More than a hundred times, she has said “Social media is a waste. No good comes from it. It whittles away at my time. My thoughts. My sanity.” And yet, she can’t ignore the conversations that inevitably evolve from what, on the surface, seems a futile attempt at redeeming the time – and often come because she her illness provides the time.

The private messages she receives that lead to deep spiritual conversations are not easy to ignore. They mean something. Behind the screens are real people, real faces, real written words of concern, grief, anger, and other emotions that make her realize Facebook, while highly annoying, can also be immensely profitable in an eternal, spiritual sense. For all involved.

Words are powerful. She is ever learning just how powerful. In her experience, it doesn’t matter that the words are typed rather than spoken … they make a difference.

Sometimes compassion is what her FB friends are after. Sometimes they want a heady conversation that would never take place face to face because the screen gives them boldness they wouldn’t otherwise possess. Sometimes their days just need to be brightened with humor. Whatever the case, she’s decided that next time she injures herself, she won’t waste half the day asking why. She’ll get busy doing what she can instead of grieving for all the things she can’t.

Have you ever wanted to quit social media? Have you found ways to use it for God’s glory? Or have you decided it’s inherently evil and needs to be destroyed before we all go bonkers? In what ways has your brokenness provided ways to be effective in showing compassion to others? Do tell!

 

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