Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

More Potent Than You Think

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Recently while driving home from a youth rally, my daughter, Hannah and I were discussing the material presented there about sexual purity. She made a comment that went something like this: “You know the overriding theme of all the purity speeches seems to be to ‘just say no’ when your boyfriend pressures you to have sex. It seems to me they are missing the preventive message altogether. When I am the girl in the group of friends who says we need to change the channel when something sexually implicit appears…when I am the girl that doesn’t show up at the pool party in my swimsuit for guys to see…when I am the one who says “Let’s go see a different movie because we are Christians”…when I am the one who doesn’t participate in the dances…, then I have about a 0% chance of ever finding myself in a boyfriend/girlfriend relationship with somebody who is after sex. After all, guys who are looking for physical relationships don’t have to look far.”

Hannah was on target. There are lots of ways girls protect themselves from sexual situations. Some of the best are the preventive messages we post about our characters. True, Hannah has written a book that’s a pretty good pre-date indicator that she’s not going to get involved in a physical relationship before marriage. But there’s a sense in which all girls write a “pre-date indicator book.” When I see Christian girls who advertise on their facebook sites that they are part of groups that applaud certain brands of condoms and the guys who use them, I’m pretty sure they are not living lives that are consistent with their professions. When I see girls who join groups whose very names are sexually suggestive, that shouts to me that these girls are not too concerned about purity. When I see even young teens post their answers to surveys about how many ways/places they’ve been kissed, they’re saying way more about themselves than they intend to say. Sometimes I’m convinced they are advertising goods they don’t want to deliver. Often they are implying that they are far more sexually active than they actually are. I think the messages we put out through Facebook are often even more potent than we mean for them to be. Think about it.

When you pass a car with a political bumper sticker…say “God is pro-life”, you really know nothing about the person driving the car except for that one thing: he/she is pro-life. Your feelings and opinions about that person are totally based on three words posted on a bumper sticker. You may think, “Wow, I’m on the same page with that person!” But, in reality, that could possibly be about the only thing about him/her with which you agree. When I pass a person whose bumper sticker contains a crude word or immoral message, that ungodly message shouts at me. I immediately think the driver of that car is NOT a person I would enjoy knowing at all. It may be the case that the driver of that car has some great characterisitcs. But my impression is, right or wrong, pretty much based on one little sticker posted in a conspicuous place. Bumper stickers shout overpowering messages!

Facebook shouts,too. It’s a social utility. That means it helps people know more about people they may have never met face to face. I have lots of Facebook friends I’ve never even met. All I know about them is what they’ve posted on Facebook. My total impression of their characters is necessarily based on a few paragraphs. But some of the people that I now only know through facebook, I will one day meet in person. Next week I am going to speak in Dallas and several facebook friends have told me they will be there. But I already know what sort of Christian behavior I can expect from them, because Christian character has been reflected through their facebook messages.

Some of you will meet some of your facebook friends in dating situations. What sort of men are you attracting through your facebook pages? Which of your friends would want to ask you out, based on the quotes, groups, music, photos and activities you advertise as your personal favorites? What will they expect of you when they get the chance to meet you? What are they already aware of about you and will you be able to retract it if you really didn’t mean it?

Once the slowly-built reputation has been erected and it includes sexual advertising, will it all just “go away” because you were just “innocently” joining a fun group that happened to have a sexual message? Who will respond to your advertisement and why? I personally know of several great Christian guys who decided NOT to ask a girl out…someone to whom they were initially attracted, because they checked out her facebook site first and found material that should and did offend them as Christians. Maybe these girls really were good girls. Maybe their sites said more than they really meant for them to say. But, in each case, the girl missed a great chance to get to know someone of the opposite sex who would’ve helped her go to heaven and who might have been a potential Christian mate.

The bottom line is this: Facebook is a social tool. It will draw you to people and people to you. Your site paints an overview of the real you for people to see. It is a little window into your soul. I must keep my soul ready for the Lord’s viewing all the time and then make sure I don’t cloud the window through which others are looking.

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