Am I the only one who is tired of getting on Facebook, and – wait, wait, you didn’t let me finish! I’m tired of getting on Facebook AND seeing a bunch of link-bait, wishy-washy, pop-culture baloney pretending to be deep, wise council for fixing your life. My wife and I were just discussing it and the phrase “Facebook Wisdom” sprang to mind.
So here we are.
Let me give you some recent, but by no means exhaustive, examples: “5 Ways You Are Unknowingly Destroying Your Husband and Ruining Your Marriage,” “Every mother should remember that one day her daughter will follow her example instead of her advice,” and “If a girl ever steals your man, the best revenge is to let her keep him. Real men can’t be stolen.” Without getting too personal about the people who posted them, let me just summarize by saying this is a bunch of hypocritical codswallop coming from them. They don’t realize it, but it is.
I don’t know what it is about social media, but these kinds of almost-wise-but-not-quite sayings seem to spread like a virus. If you haven’t been through the pain of infidelity, they sound good and it’s too easy to share them with everyone. You know, to help them figure this stuff out.
The problem I have with most of this stuff is it’s pretty damn hopeless for people who have screwed up lives and marriages. It’s all bad news about how you’ve screwed up without any “but…” to give you hope.
That first one about destroying your husband and ruining your marriage – what message does that send to the woman who has been betrayed? Did she do one of those five things? Even if she didn’t, will her friend who is posting this article think she must have been guilty of one or two in order for her husband to do what he did?
Or what about the one about “real men can’t be stolen” – what message does that send to women who choose to take back a repentant cheater? For that matter, what does it say about her judgement that she was with someone who wasn’t a “real man?” Will she ever recognize a real man when she finds one or will she always be looking for that sign that she got another dud?
Never mind what “real men can’t be stolen” says about me. I have faults enough and am well aware of them (marriage tends to bring about self-awareness in this area). But based on Facebook Wisdom, the real man is apparently the perfect man who has no insecurities, meets all his spouse’s needs, and of course never gives in to temptation. Perfection is a pretty tough standard to live up to and I certainly haven’t come close.
I realize that last one may seem a bit self-serving, and I suppose it is. I’m a pretty firm believer in grace and forgiveness. I will forever bear the stain of what I did, but that does not mean I’m not a real man. I’m a real man who is fallible, one who has sinned, but also one who has been forgiven. I defy anyone to show me a real man who has not screwed up somehow. I can say with total confidence that the only one in the Bible who didn’t screw up at least once was Jesus, and it’s not like the rest were a bunch of slouches.
Likewise, there are women who make mistakes in their marriages, but that doesn’t make them bad wives. That doesn’t mean they are destroying their marriages. Even if they are, there is still grace for them. Incidentally, this is why I also have a problem with the Proverbs 31 Woman group(s). By itself, it’s an impossible standard, and I don’t see much in the way of grace or hope for those who miss the mark.
I hate to bring the Bible into it, but even Paul acknowledges what I’m saying. To paraphrase Galatians, whoever seeks to keep the law must keep the whole law for to keep only part of it is to be cursed by the law. Therefore, we chose to live under grace, not sinning so that grace may abound, but living in the freedom of forgiveness when we do screw up. When was the last time you saw that on Facebook?
What I’d like to see is a lot more people being real about their struggles and a lot less moral preening. I want to see more grace and forgiveness being offered and an end to the hypocritical finger-wagging.
I don’t know if that’s even possible on Facebook. Maybe it’s just me, but I have a dream: someday we can all just be real about our failings and struggles, and it will be okay because the scolds have either gained some self-awareness or have gone somewhere else where they won’t bother anyone.
I wonder if Scoldbook.com is taken…