Read: Philippians 4: 4-8
Connecting with friends is something that we all enjoy and Facebook has been one of the most wonderful ways by which we connect with our friends. But today Facebook is more than a source of connection. It is almost like your second home where you display sometimes quite unknowingly the most sensitive and intimate aspects of your personal life. Thus today it is quite normal for friends to post their wedding snap, or some intimate snaps with their spouses or snaps of a college reunion or snaps of the latest vacation that the family had. But there are times when I feel very strange that there are people who even dare to post those snaps which are of very private in nature. I think today through Facebook the line of distinction between what should be shown in public and what should be shown in private seems to have vanished. Not only that, all the snaps that we post, are the snaps that shows the best aspects and features of one's life. Looking at the all the snaps that are being posted, with everyone one smiling, couples hugging each other, families enjoying intimacy on a vacation, it unknowingly tends to convey a feeling that in each and every individuals life, home and in his work place, everything is wonderful and everyone is living a blessed life. Does all the posting, the snaps really show the true side of one's life?. Recently a group of researchers from the University of Berlin did a study on the topic "Envy of Facebook: A Hidden Threat of User's Life Satisfaction. The researchers were Hanna Krasnova, Helena Weninger, Thomas Widjaja and Peter Buxmann and what they did was to research whether all the social information's that are being transmitted by people on Facebook leads to undesirable outcomes like jealousy, increase in social tension, social overload, isolation and even depression?. The study concluded that people tend to be emotionally upset or angry, sometimes even frustrated after a Facebook use, may be because their friends did not click the like button or did not make any positive comments, and this has led to some element of social isolation in the Facebook user. But the worst part was the arousal of the feeling of envy when a person was involved in social searching, social browsing. This meant that when we follow the stories of our friends, or their profiles or other significant aspects of our friends life, like viewing their vacation snaps or the pose of our friends as a happy go lucky couple, the cozy couple snaps, it creates in the Facebook user a sense of envy leading to different negative emotional responses. I think this study is significant because one of the strange aspects in the use of Facebook is that all that we see or shown in Facebook may be unrealistic images of people, and events. Viewing this tend to bring in a feeling that when I am grappling with issues and crises in life, the life of my friends and others are rosy and they are enjoying the best in life. This may be true or may not be true. Thus what is important for us is to understand and view our life in the correct perspective. Not in the perspective as is depicted by our friends on Facebook. Therefore, let us ask ourselves whether we tend to compare our life and ones state of contentment and meaning by what others do? If the yardstick of how if should feel in life is dictated by what my friends do and post, then I think we have a very unrealistic and a distorted view of life.
Paul in his letter to Philippians gives us one of the most profound spiritual truths on how to have a correct perspective of one's life, a perspective that will help us to overcome those guilt feeling, those feelings of depression, envy and jealousy that may arise out of Facebook browsing or social browsing for that matter. In Philippians 4: 4-8, Paul states as a Christian we can receive the peace that the Lord gives to us, peace that gives us meaning and contentment in life [v: 7]. But how do we get that peace of God?. Paul states what is needed in our life is to always rejoice in the Lord[ v; 4]. Rejoicing that comes in the life of a believer when he/she is not anxious about anything [ v: 6], and this loss of anxiety comes to a believer when he/she is always ready to be thankful to the Lord at all times and also with a life style where he/she offers his/her petition to the Lord[ v: 6]. Paul further goes about when he states that the correct perspective of life can only be understood if we discern what the goal and objective of our life is. Paul states in [v: 8 ], that one should always desire what is noble, true, what is right, what is lovely, whatever is excellent and praiseworthy. Here is Paul stating that the objective in life should be measured on the standards such a nobility, truthfulness, what is honest and genuine. It is tragic that today our lives are lives where we are always in the state of complaining of what we do not have, comparing on what we do not have in relation with others and thus always living in a state of depression and emotional anguish,. Paul is convicting all of us to lead authentic Christian life, where our the joy and sadness in our life is not measured on what our friend do and post on Facebook, but consciously building our life, developing a life style where one is able to be thankful to the Lord, thus bringing a state of rejoicing in ones life. This is a life lived with acquisition of what is noble, just and right. This attitude and life style does not guarantee crisis free life, but just as Paul exhorts, let us submit all our fears and our anxieties and our crisis to the Lord through prayer and supplication. When we do that our Lord will strengthen us in our quest to lead a meaningful and authentic Christian life. Let us this day decide that it is not the post or snaps on Facebook that will determine my state of happiness, despair or contentment in life, but the perspective of life that I am able to bring to my life because of my relationship with my Lord.