On Facebook, all your friends are getting married. You’re the only single person left in the entire world. All alone you drift, while the world moves forward without you.
On Facebook, everybody else’s family is perfect. Couples don’t argue. Their kids do extremely cute things at every hour of the day and night. They don’t say potty words to the Sunday school teacher, yell at their parents, or throw toy trucks at their sisters.
On Facebook, everybody has “awesome bosses,” “unbelievable weather,” and they mostly sing praise songs all day while eating chocolate cake and losing weight at the same time. Their hair is perfect and their skin is smooth and blemish-free.
Oh, and on Facebook everybody was invited to that big party except for you. All of your friends got together, planned the biggest and coolest get-together of the century, and deliberately left you out! (By the way, they probably did that so they can talk about you.)
If you spend enough time with social media, you might begin to believe that the lies above are actually true. People I know have believed all of the above at different times. Not just other people, actually. I have believed these lies from time to time.
Here’s the truth: Facebook is the perfect platform for showing people an idealized version of our lives. It’s not that the stories you read there are untrue, it’s just that they’re incomplete. Those beautiful wedding photos aren’t accompanied by a description of the terrible argument the young couple had on day three of the honeymoon. The cute kid photos hide the fact that three minutes earlier the kid was covered spit-up and full of rage.
I’m not being cynical here. Instead, I’m making the point that if you compare your real life to everybody else’s idealized version, then your real life will always fall short. “Do not covet” is one of the Commandments for good reason. When we want what we think others have, we fall into sinful desire, which leads us to discontent, which leads to sin (James 1:14-15).
God’s blessings are too many to count, but we spend so much time counting what we don’t have. We tally up the blessings God has given to others and wonder why we don’t have the same ones. I don’t want to minimize the pain of social rejection and loneliness. Instead, let me suggest that we bring that pain to places where we can legitimately find healing. If the pain is too much, then let’s turn off Facebook for a while. Engage in face-to-face relationships with people who love us. Fall on our knees before the God who gave His Son for us. Cry to Him, praise Him, learn about Him, and thank Him for what He has given. Fill our minds with God’s Word, a Word that speaks consistently and clearly about the One who knows us and offers so much more to us than all the things we think we need.
Engage deeply in real life, and watch the idealized versions lose their power.
Yes, your news feed is lying to you. The only question is whether you’ll buy what it’s selling.
Have you ever struggled with discontent and comparison as a result of social media? How do you handle it?
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