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Old Flames and Facebook

On the CT Her.meneutics blog, Jenell Williams Paris asks if one should avoid friending “old flames” on Facebook, particularly if one is married. She answers the question with a dose of “better safe than sorry,” with which I agree.

But something that stood out to me was Paris’ observation of how choices in her single years affect her decision:

I don’t really believe in the way I got to marriage: testing the waters, wading in, backing out, then trying again with someone else — in a word, dating. Most societies do not have dating (until fairly recently, ours didn’t either), and likely for good reasons. My love for my husband may be bright and burning like the sun, but having dated means that other small stars are visible in my sky, perhaps especially when the sun’s light occasionally wanes. Before the Internet, these stars were far away — I had no idea where these men lived, or how to find them if I wanted to. Now, they are as close as the glow-in-the-dark stars on the ceiling above my sons’ beds.

In other words, Paris says, sloppy relationship habits in her single years have created “potential threats” that could have been avoided. In the past, the fruit of misguided relationship choices may have never resurfaced, but in the modern age, they are a mouse click away. “You reap what you sow” takes on a whole new dynamic.

Still, if you have repented of past sin and are committed to Christ and your spouse (or current godly relationship), you need not be enslaved by past wrongs. As Paris notes: “Facebook presents me with nicely worded options: ‘Confirm this request for friendship, or quietly ignore it.’ I’ve made my choice. Old flame, consider yourself quietly ignored.”

I couldn’t have said it better.

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About the Author

Suzanne Gosselin
Suzanne Hadley Gosselin

Suzanne Hadley Gosselin is a freelance writer and editor. She graduated from Multnomah University with a degree in journalism and biblical theology. She lives in California with her husband, Kevin, and her four young children: Josiah, Sadie, Amelia and Jackson. When she’s not hanging out with her kids, Suzanne loves a good cup of coffee, conversation with friends, musical theater and a trip to the beautiful California coast.

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