Ep. 209 Stop Criticizing Your Spouse and Friends On Facebook

Shows Main Idea – A lady posted on my Facebook business page a comment about her hard-hearted husband, which were her words. She was criticizing him publicly, which was gossip and slander. We deleted her comment from our page, where more than 12,000 folks could have seen it.

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Show Notes

Her post was surreal, ironic, weird, and inappropriate. Let me illustrate. Imagine a person standing in a room of 12,000 people and slanders her husband because he’s not walking with the Lord, according to her perspective. Or imagine a person walking up to a stranger on the street and berating her husband.

Many elements come to mind about her comment, so I decided to make this podcast to interact with some of those things. Facebook and other social media platforms are not going away soon. Thus, it’s vital to have a “theology for social media” because of its ubiquitous nature, and the possibility of not using it redemptively.

Social Media Sleepwalk

The omnipresent nature and ease of accessibility of Facebook are lulling us to sleep. It is as though we believe we’re a closer community than we are. The misperception will tempt some individuals to lower their guards of biblical propriety and say things they would never say in real life.

How many times have you read a comment on social media about a person that was “behind the back” of the targeted person? Imagine the same scenario in your local church. You connect with someone on Sunday morning. And share something innocuous with them about a friend. The person with whom you’re sharing starts slandering your friend. We call this gossip (or defamation).

The accessibility of Facebook has trained us to riff on whatever is going through our minds. It’s dumbing us down. This problem is so significant that some believers show no discretion, which hinders their Christian influence.

(There is a distinction between speaking against a public matter that is reported from many outlets and platforms and talking about a personal matter between you and another individual, e.g., sports, politics, or religious matters.)

A Biblical Process

It’s a shame that Facebook has become such an inappropriate megaphone for hurting folks. There is no question that these folks are suffering from something. But the chances of finding help outside of biblical means (i.e., Facebook) are slim while the chances of hardening your heart are high.

If you need to speak critically about your spouse or close friendship, there are biblical means for doing it (Matthew 18:15-17). The process is to go to him and share your grievance. If he does not respond with adequate repentance, you share with another person, and you both go to him. Perhaps you take a third person with you.

If he continues to be resistant, you bring it to your church leadership. It is wildly inappropriate to “take it to Facebook,” so the world will know about your marriage. Perhaps your church does not help folks in these vital areas of discipleship, which is all-too-common. There are many other means to find help; we are one of those resources.

Hardening the Heart

Part of the irony with her comment is how her biblical illiteracy is comparable to her husband’s. She was saying that her husband is not acting like a Christian. Neither was she. There is no justification for using unbiblical means to share your anger because someone disappoints you.

If you’re going to talk about your spouse, do it redemptively. Don’t do it in such a way to “get things off your chest.” That reaction does not work. You will not get it off your chest, but lay a layer of dullness over your conscience. If you persist in running down your spouse, relatives, or friends, you will harden your heart because it grieves and quenches the Spirit, the very person who can help you (Hebrews 3:7, 4:7; 1 Timothy 4:2; Ephesians 4:30; 1 Thessalonians 5:19). This reaction to another person’s sin will make you like them.

The Sinning-Victim

Sometimes in our hurt and desperation, we forget the “process” for find help, which is laid out for us in the Bible. Of course, we see a louder and angrier perversion of this with the “me-too movement;” they are hurting, angry, and loud. This Christian woman is following a similar beat: she has a legit complaint, but how she works through her marriage problems is not biblical. Thus, you have the delicate tension of the sinning/victim.

This complexity brings me back to the irony of her comment. Her husband is a jerk. He is hardening his heart. And out of her hurt and desperation, she is hardening hers too.

Call to Action

  1. Are you hurting? Is someone sinning against you? How do you think and talk about them? Will you meditate on this passage and the context in which Paul says these things?
  2. In what ways did the Corinthians sin against Paul? Though he did rebuke them for their sinfulness, what was his attitude toward them, according to this passage?
  3. Describe your attitude toward the person who has hurt you? Are you thinking, talking, and behaving in a redemptive manner toward that person?
  4. When others hear you talk about the person who hurt you, what do they hear? Grace-saturated speech? Or bitterness and anger?
  5. Will you ask someone to read your Facebook posts and comment on the things you say?

Paul, called by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, and our brother Sosthenes, To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints together with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus, that in every way you were enriched in him in all speech and all knowledge— even as the testimony about Christ was confirmed among you— so that you are not lacking in any gift, as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord (1 Corinthians 1:1-9).

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