Are you on Facebook? Like a lot of our friends and family, Pete and I have Facebook accounts. I try hard not to spend too much time watching all the “heartrending” videos, checking out everyone else’s grandkids (ours are cuter), and noting that my photographer acquaintances have recently taken incredible photos and I haven’t because I’m home reading about them on Facebook.
Along with all the political statements, sentimental photos, and check-ins, are a growing number of “wise sayings.” Whatever the topic, someone has created a small graphic with some sort of lovely border or faded photo in the background, highlighting the latest in popular philosophy. They’re shared, and shared, and shared, with comments ranging from “Yup” to “That is so true!” I’m sure you’ve seen them too.
In a time when many Americans say they prefer faith and spirituality over Christianity, when even Christians don’t read the Bible (over a third say they don’t read it at all, and most only read it in church), I wondered how well these sayings meshed with Christian beliefs. For many people, this is the only philosophical or spiritual teaching they’re likely to encounter. They sound good, but do they contradict the Bible? Or are they a restatement of Scripture—a kind of “gospel according to Facebook”? Let’s take a look. (If you can’t read the text, click on the image to enlarge it.)
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.” (2 Corinthians 1:3-7) Looks like good advice!
“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.” (Proverbs 17:17)
“One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” (Proverbs 18:24) Yup, good friends are priceless!
“The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9)
I don’t believe my heart “will never steer me in the wrong direction.” Sometimes, we need to submit our hearts to God’s better judgment and love. After all, His ways are not our ways. This is the same issue as in the next saying:
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding…” (Proverbs 3:5)
“For it is written: ‘I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.’
“Where is the wise person? … Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? … For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.” (1 Corinthians 1:18-19, 25)
“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” (Ephesians 6:18)
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” (Philippians 4:6)
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1 Thessalonioans 5:16-18)
“The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace.” (Psalm 29:11)
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27)
“Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way.” (2 Thessalonians 3:16)
Where does peace come from?
That’s enough for now. I’ll have some more to share another time. In the meantime, just because it’s nicely portrayed with pretty colors and a fancy font, and plastered all over Facebook, doesn’t mean it’s true. Be like the Bereans, “for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.” (Acts 17:11)