A [closed-minded] fool does not delight in understanding, But only in revealing his personal opinions [unwittingly displaying his self-indulgence and his stupidity]. - Proverbs 18:2 (AMP)
If you've ever read any of my previous blog posts, you will probably remember some of the discussions I've made on the horrors of social media... Mainly, my own struggle and addiction to it. Yes, addiction. In fact, I never really realized how much of an addiction I had to social media until recently.
For years, I had allowed social media to do a lot of damage to me. For hours on end, I would scroll through Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest. I would read opinions, political posts, and arguments. Then, I would participate in those arguments. I would make excuses for myself by telling myself that, “It isn’t wrong to state my opinion or tell people the truth.” But then, those arguments would get heated as strangers commented hateful things to me. Then, in my rage, I would turn and do the same cruel things back to them.
I knew for years that I had a toxic relationship with social media, though, I didn't want to admit it was an addiction. I knew I was perpetually depressed and anxious due to social media. I knew that I was ignoring my husband in order to scroll through mindless, foolish posts. I knew that I felt angry and fearful because of the political content I was reading. But I just couldn’t seem to stop. I kept getting more and more fearful and depressed as I continued my downward spiral.
Finally, after a really bad, argumentative, and anxiety-filled day of social media use, I knew that I couldn't keep doing what I was doing. It was taking too much of a toll on my mental health.
I had tried to stop my social media use many times before. All to no avail. Mainly because I didn't want to admit there was a problem with myself. I wanted to give excuses for myself. Excuses like, "Well, sometimes social media makes me happy!" Or, "I want to stay in contact with people I don't know that well." Or, "My social media use isn't that bad."
A couple days later, I was reading Proverbs. I stumbled upon this verse: A [closed-minded] fool does not delight in understanding, But only in revealing his personal opinions [unwittingly displaying his self-indulgence and his stupidity]. - Proverbs 18:2 (AMP) This verse, (along with another verse my husband had shared with me, which I will discuss more about below) was life-giving to me. In fact, this verse was my exact problem! I was foolishly and stupidly acting like my personal opinion was something that the whole world needed to hear and listen to.
Suddenly, verses that related to social media began popping up everywhere for me. (Isn't it interesting how an ancient book can relate to something so modern as social media??) These verses helped me take the first steps into healing by fully disabling my Instagram page and uninstalling every social media app from my phone. Now, the only way I can access my only existing social media account (my P40 Ministries page on Facebook,) is through my work computer.
Since doing this, I have felt more mentally healthy than I have in many years. I am no longer constantly afraid and depressed. I am no longer ready to fight with complete strangers about their personal opinions. I am not looking for validation in the wrong places anymore. I am no longer picking up my phone and immediately clicking on a social media app. I am much more focused at work. I am spending more time with my husband. I am more interested in exercise. I am keeping my daily schedule consistently. I am happier!
Yet, in spite of not actively using social media, I don't feel disconnected from society at all. I am still in contact with the wonderful people in my life. I am still seeing my friends at church. I am still volunteering and serving in ministries. I am still participating in Zoom chats and remote Bible studies. I feel very connected to everyone! (And in a much healthier way!!)
My life has become simpler and happier. I feel like I can breathe again. There is a weight off my shoulders.
If this sounds like something you need too - a break from your social media addiction, and a happier, healthier lifestyle, then here are some of the verses that helped me get over my social media addiction that may help you too:
1. For what business is it of mine to judge outsiders (non-believers)? Do you not judge those who are within the church [to protect the church as the situation requires]? - Corinthians 5:12 (AMP)
This was one of the verses my husband was talking to me about. He had read it during a meeting at church. When he told me about it, I immediately connected this verse with what I was doing on social media. I was not supposed to be judging those who aren't within the church. It wasn't my job. In fact, in the very next verse, Paul says that that right belongs to God alone.
Every time I argued with a stranger on social media, I was judging them. I was deciding by their words and opinions what their situations were, or where their heart was. But this was wrong. These people were complete and utter strangers. I didn't even know what some of them looked like. I didn't know if they were believers or unbelievers. I didn't know their situation or what they struggled with. I didn't know anything at all!!
When Paul wrote this verse, he was telling the church to only judge active members of the church and make sure that these church members were following in the footsteps of Jesus. He said to leave the people outside of the church to God.
2. Avoid worthless, foolish talk that only leads to more godless behavior. - 2 Timothy 2:16 (NLT)
When I read this verse, I realized how much damage I was doing over social media. My words, and the words I chose to read, were causing more godless behavior from myself and those who read them.
There are so many foolish discussions and arguments I got into on social media that I am ashamed of! I now believe that any arguments that don't involve a person coming to the truth of Jesus Christ's sacrifice and salvation, is a worthless and foolish argument to have.
(All of 2 Timothy chapter two is an excellent chapter to read if you want to be convicted of social media use.)
3. A [closed-minded] fool does not delight in understanding, But only in revealing his personal opinions [unwittingly displaying his self-indulgence and his stupidity]. - Proverbs 18:2 (AMP)
I already discussed this verse a bit, but I will reiterate how important it is.
King Solomon (the wisest king in the Bible) calls people who only want to air their opinions "Closed-minded fools." I was one of these people. Why? Because the entire Bible is filled with truths about choosing not to argue or be purposefully combative. But I was ignoring these truths. The fact is, when I was arguing on social media or getting on my own personal soap box, I only cared about my own pride and making sure I was the one in the right. I didn't care about other people or even my own reputation as a believer.
4. And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. - Philippians 4:8 (NLT)
Social media was not just damaging to me because of the arguments I chose to get involved in. (Actually, that was a very small part of why I chose to remove myself from social media.) Social media (overall,) is a toxic place, filled with anxieties, stresses, arguments, unnecessary politics, untruths, conspiracies, and foolish talk. (Which I admit I added to.) It was none of the things Paul tells people to fix their minds on.
Friends, in conclusion, I gained very little good from social media, but I gained a lot of bad from it. Those hours I spent on social media were wasted. I will never get that time back.
Choose not to fall into the same mistakes I have fallen into. Get out while you can. I promise, you will be happier in the long run, just as I am.
Choose happiness. Not social media.
(*If anyone is interested in removing their personal social media accounts (not business accounts) let me know, and I can write a blog post about the steps I took to get off of social media for good.)