Faith

The Good Deeds Facebook Facade: It’s impact on you and others

September 30, 2016
 
This post was written, honestly, out of a two-fold frustration. Writing out of frustration is scary because of the potential to offend or be critical. But from the frustration I realized many people probably experience the same and need encouragement to combat it instead of allowing jealousy to take root, bitterness to pervade, or discouragement to hinder.
 
Here on one ear I am talking to and doing life with people who pour out every healthy ounce of who they are for others - they sacrifice and serve so much, and have amazing stories of how people's lives have been positively affected; yet, you never or rarely see a breath of it on social media. And when you do, you can tell its not self-serving.
 
On the other ear, or really eye too, I have heard comments that so-and-so's life is "glamorous" or seen so-and-so make much of her good deeds on social media, and I cant help but to think my friend thinks that because on Facebook it looks that way. Something in me knows they see these other friends posting all her 'good deeds' and for some reason I know this makes my friend feel like she and her deeds don't matter.
 
I hope this post encourages. I'm paranoid it is critical. But, its something I've wanted to say to several people I personally know to encourage them about the value in what they are doing and difference they are making...

To the person who doesn't post their good deeds on Facebook...

 

To all you who do so many things to love and serve and give to others, whether that's in the community or in your church or to friends or family or your own children, yet you don't boast in yourself, you don't #humblebrag, and you don't post it all to social media...

 

Maybe you feel that most of these tender moments are sacred. When you see a need and meet a need out of the overflow of your heart, when your intentions are truly good and pure, it just seems almost wrong to notify the world.  Like in your head its calling the news station and letting them know what you did or what you were a part of so it can be broadcasted.  Just in the past few weeks I've talked to people who have:  woken up early on Saturday morning to share that time with women in addiction recovery, invited coworkers who are struggling with loneliness and cancer into community, gotten self and kids up to make it to church on time without help, served children with disabilities all Sunday every Sunday, volunteered to help a foster family despite having additional obligations, worked extra hours to provide free care to patients who couldn't afford it otherwise, given up their Saturday to help a friend with work obligations, created paid work for and given rides to a young kid in the community whose family was homeless... oh and these only touch the surface.  But you would never know from their Facebook or Instagram. They aren't trying to win the approval of man but of God. After all, if they were trying to win the approval of people, they wouldn't be serving Christ (Galatians 1:11-12). Actually that brings to mind a friend who told me just yesterday that she turns off her Instagram notifications and isn't on Facebook because she doesn't want to derive any of her worth and validation there. For those that do social media, even though you may not get 50 likes on Facebook and 20 comments of what an awesome person you are, I can promise you that what you are doing matters. Big time. And in my book the fact that you DIDNT post it makes me adore you. 

 

Now I'm not saying its wrong to post to Facebook every time you are involved in a good thing. Of course it could inspire more love and charity. It could bring awareness. It could glorify God and his church. It could show the impact of small groups or community. It could praise someone else. It could spread light in a dark world. But I think its pretty safe to say we can all easily recognize the difference. Is God getting the glory out of this or is the person doing it?  Is personal validation or recognition the point? Is one of your primary thoughts that you can't wait to notify social media of your good deed or involvement? If you were left alone with your good deed and no one else knew, would that be enough for you? Hello heart check.

 

Regardless, I'm sure you still wonder, even if just a little, if you are really making a difference because for some strange reason, social media likes to make you think your deeds are seemingly more "real" when they are exposed there. For many or most, when others know about the good they are doing it gives them a self-confidence, self-fulfillment, and sense of importance they don't receive when its left in the sacred place.  Somehow the exposure convinces us that we ARE what we are afraid we really are NOT. It falsely legitimatizes. Don't be fooled.

 

Jesus himself said when you give to someone in need, don't make a spectacle of it and call attention to the charity you do or else THAT, the attention and praise you get, will be your reward.  Instead, give and do acts of charity in private, as a natural part of life, without broadcasting it to the world, actually without even your right hand knowing your left hand did it and by doing it this way, God will see it and reward you: "When you give to someone in need, don't do as the hypocrites do -- blowing trumpets in the synagogues and streets to call attention to their acts of charity! I tell you the truth, they have received all the reward they will ever get. But when you give to someone in need, don't let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. Give your gifts in private and your Father, who sees everything, will reward you." Matthew 6:2-4.

 

God sees you. The person receiving sees you. And the fact that your modesty kept you from posting that thing proved to a further degree you don't do it for the show or the praise but truly do it from the heart. Probably an obedient heart. Probably a servants heart. Probably a pure heart. Because we all know boasting and exalting ourselves doesn't originate with a savior who humbled himself on the cross. Boasting in self boosts pride. Boasting in Jesus is quite different. Pride does detrimental things to people. Like get them kicked out of heaven.  As Jesus said, "Those who exalt themselves will be humbled and those who humble themselves will be exalted" (Matthew 23:12).

 

Boasting is defined as “talking (or social-media-ing) with excessive pride and self-satisfaction about one’s achievements, possessions, or abilities.” Sound familiar? It should because I think we've all at minimum battled it at one time or another. Paul was familiar with this struggle. But he kept it under wraps for the most part. He said, "I will boast about a man like that, but I will not boast about myself, except about my weaknesses.  Even if I should choose to boast, I would not be a fool, because I would be speaking the truth. But I refrain, so no one will think more of me than is warranted by what I do or say," (2 Corinthians 12:9). By what I say or what I do . . . shouldn't that be enough?

 

Paul is saying that even though he has every pure and true reason in the world to boast about himself and what he is doing, he doesn't do it. If you will remember Paul led many people to Christ, he spoke the gospel, he was imprisoned for his faith, he was a missionary, and he did and was many other things. But instead of boasting about his achievements, possessions, or abilities, he refrained from doing it, knowing that his words and actions would speak for themselves. He says he will boast about his weaknesses or about other people but not about himself. What a great example we have in Paul.

 

I talk to so many people who are endlessly pouring out their hearts and resources for others but you would never know it unless you knew them personally. You would never know they love people who can give them absolutely nothing in return except maybe a smile and some gratitude. They make their life really all about serving other people - from the streets to the ministries in their churches to the walls of their homes. From their Facebook their life may look uneventful but these people realize the shallowness of the Facebook façade. The know where the true fulfillment lies.

 

Don't let that comparison thinking get to you when you get on Facebook and compare yourself to someone who can't possibly do something good without notifying the 1000+ friends they have. Don't think for a second Facebook legitimizes it all .... in fact I would say more than likely it delegitimizes it. There are so many women I love and admire so much who never give themselves an ounce of public credit because they do what they do unto the Lord not themselves.

 

Ya'll are such rockstars. Keep it up. I see you. We see you. God sees you. You are right to think that everything you have to prove can be done in the quiet of your room, in the conversations with God, in the behind the scenes serving, and in the unnoticed rhythms of your life. And your reward, one day, will be great and much more eternal and gratifying than Facebook likes and public service announcements. Trust your gut telling you those sacred moments are sacred for a reason. And don't let the social media façade rob you of the joy God has for you in trusting those sacred moments to him.

 

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