the thief of joy

Reverend Cedric Miller, in New Jersey recently made it mandatory that all of the church’s staff delete their Facebook accounts. This is his response to counseling a growing number of married congregants over infidelities that began through Facebook comments. Though, he did not tell his congregants to delete their accounts, he did strongly suggest it, and recommended that they share passwords. You can read more about it here.

My initial reaction was very judgmental.  He was just another bossy Christian telling other people what to do, but then I started to think about it. I started to feel a bit more grace toward the guy. Rev. Miller is responding to a crisis in his congregation. This is not the first thing he did and it probably won’t be his last. Closing down a Facebook account is a concrete action that people can take that are having marital difficulties. It’s a practical step that removes temptation.  I can appreciate that.

A month or so ago, I read a post on some blog (I can’t remember which one) about a musician that had a tattoo that read: Comparison is the thief of Joy. I haven’t been about to get that quote out of my head. I’ll probably end up getting it tattooed on me—the quote has shaken me. Often comparison leads to ingratitude. It’s a rejection of God’s provision. It leaches away satisfaction. It is the thief of Joy.

I recently (about an hour ago) read in Steven Bouma-Prediger’s book, For the Beauty of the Earth that “gratitude is the grammar of grace” (172). Gratitude is the antithesis to comparison. That is the baseball bat we use against thieves.

Deleting accounts on Facebook is Rev. Miller’s response to a burglar that is stealing the joy out of marriages.  I’m not sure if that’s how I would have responded, but at least Miller is responding. We all need to learn how to stand up against thieves of joy.

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