A few years ago, we had a young man stay in our home as part of a ministry team that was visiting our church. He was a kind, courteous, and handsome young man with a sense of humor to boot – just the kind of boy a mother dreams of for her daughter. In fact, I joked around with my daughter about what a great catch he would be.
It wasn’t until a few months later that we started becoming aware of who this young man really was inside, where it counts. We learned of his values, his entertainment choices, and his activities. And, several years later, we realized the depth of this grown-up boy’s sinful lifestyle (thank you, Facebook!)
You see, we can’t always tell a person’s true character by their niceness. Although we do tend to do that, don’t we? I find myself thinking that so-and-so is SO NICE, therefore they must be spiritually solid and strong. And sometimes that would be true. But it isn’t always true.
Facebook is a wonderful tool to use to help us discern if someone loves the Lord more than anything else. I can’t tell you the amount of times I have met someone who is incredibly nice in how they treat others, but when I see their facebook page I see ungodly pictures and language and choices on their info page and on their wall and I realize that their heart is far from God and is instead solidly entrenched in the activities of the world.
We can be as nice as nice can be, but that doesn’t make up for worldliness, or selfishness, or immodesty. Of course, no one is perfect and we all make mistakes – even on Facebook. But we need to be discerning, especially when we are praying for spouses for our children.
As parents, let’s be careful not to make niceness a priority over spiritual health. Yes, our child’s choice should be nice – but the niceness should be an outflow of the potential mate’s choice to love and follow God with all of his/her heart, soul, mind, and strength (Mark 12:30).
Choosing a spouse will be the second biggest decision our children will ever make (the first is to choose to follow or reject Jesus). We need to be there to give wise counsel and guidance, helping them to discern if the niceness is indicative of a transformed life or simply a personality trait.