Envy and The Facebook Effect

Facebook Effect

Last week, I came across a video of a conversation (link here) between some well-known Christian hip-hop artists.  Their lively discussion turned to the dangers of social media and the effects it has on the human heart.  Rapper Shai Linne surprised the group when he admitted that he felt convicted to unfollow the twitter feed of hip-hop sensation Lecrae.  To Shai, the steady stream of updates from Lecrae’s high profile life (grammy nominations and all) stirred up a tinge of envy within his soul.  Shai was quick to defend Lecrae and the unique influence God has given him within the hip-hop community.  The problem wasn’t with Lecrae, the problem was with himself.  In essence, Shai detected that his right eye was causing him to sin, so he plucked it out.

For many people, Facebook has become part of the DNA of their daily life offering an open window into the lives of others with its stream of pictures of happy people living happy ordinary lives.  Though often undetected, the most faithful Christians can succumb to those seductive thoughts of envy via the Facebook effect.  The problem isn’t with Facebook, the problem is with our envy-prone hearts; the fruit of which is an ungrateful heart toward God and a secret opposition towards those we envy.

I encourage Christians to ask themselves some questions before taking that daily swim in the sea of social media:

  • What is my heart’s reaction to the blessings that others post on social media?
  • Am I genuinely happy when my friends post pictures from their luxurious vacation or does it feed the demon of envy that is always anxious to find more fodder for discontentment?
  • Do I use Facebook to compare my life with that of my Facebook friends?

If we hesitate to answer those questions, then perhaps it’s time to take a much-needed break from Facebook and give your soul some rest from the voluntary voyeurism.

Lastly, Proverbs 21:23 warns Christians to guard their mouths.  In 2014, that warning applies to all forms of communication including and especially social media.  Before posting, ask yourself this simple question:

  • What is my motivation for posting this on social media?

If we’re being honest, some of our posts on Facebook are meant to lead others to believe the lie that our kids are better, our spouses are sweeter, and our lives are more fulfilling than reality presents us. Our Facebook page becomes the canvas upon which we paint the life we wish we really had and then we tempt others to believe that lie.

I’m not advocating that Christians abandon Facebook or any other form of social media. But I do want to encourage us to reexamine the soul-destroying effects of envy that often attach like leeches to our flesh as we scroll down the Facebook news feed.

Now if you’ll please excuse me, I need to post this blog on my Facebook page.

Written by Jon Wood

My passion in life is to make disciples who make disciples. My joys in life include my gorgeous wife and my three fun-loving kids. FSU football makes me happy and Jags football keeps me humble. Most importantly, I’m grateful to know my sins are covered by the cross.

2 thoughts on “Envy and The Facebook Effect

  1. I might even suggest a further impact of culture on our faith journey. Many reality TV shows pander to this inherent envy within us all. Consider the HGTV program list. What do we think about when we watch? Are we content with what God has blessed us with? Or do we want a makeover? Now excuse me…”House Hunters International” is about to start.

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