Just because facebook gives us a glimpse into people’s lives doesn’t mean it also gives us the right to render judgement upon it. That’s the job of people in their lives at the local faith community level.
What does the Bible say about Judgement?
It says not to judge hypocritically. It says believers should not judge those outside the church. It says judgement should be handled at the local church level through appropriate authority. It says judgment between Christians should not be put on display before non-believers.
The bible says that if you see another believer sinning, you should confront them. So if somebody who identifies themselves as a Christian puts some seriously questionable material or comments up on their Facebook page, do we have the option and/or the obligation to confront that person?
Does Matthew 18 now involve the guidance to ‘first private message that person, and if they don’t respond then confront them on their wall’?
Rendering judgment upon people in Facebook just seems like a very dangerous precedent to me. I’m not entirely sure you can avoid hypocritical judgment when telling people what you think about their content on facebook. And are arguments between Christians really the thing you want their non-believing friends to see? You’re probably going to end up re-enforcing stereotypes that won’t lead anybody to spiritual life – that Christians are judgmental, nosy, and holier than thou.
I think we who are not in a place to interact offline with people should restrain ourselves to encouragement where possible. If you want to get into a conversation about whether you agree with somebody’s stance on gay marriage or abortion, that may be fine. But if you know that it will devolve into arguing, perhaps it would be best to restrict yourself.
Better, I think, to avoid those kinds of topics unless they can be discussed on a personal level, with a friend rather than a person who we kind of know and never see in real life.
I believe we as Christians should view Facebook and the social world not as a place where we should bring a ruler to rap the knuckles of others, but as a chance to encourage and uplift through affirmation. If Jesus had a Facebook page, I just don’t think he’d be interested in flaming people with it. It would be a place people would go so that they could be part of something great and good.