If all that non-Christians know of Christianity is what they see from Christians on social media, then what is their understanding of our faith?
I’ve been pondering this recently because I’m often shocked at the things I see Christians posting on their social media pages. There are some things we just need to avoid sharing. Here are four that I see particularly often.
Things Christians shouldn’t share on social media
1. Posts that ask others to type “amen,” like, or share
I’m pretty sure we’ve all seen images on social media that are accompanied by the following types of instructions:
- “Like and share if you are a part of God’s family.”
- “Repost this if you love God. He already saw you read it. 97% of Facebook users won’t repost this, but if you are part of the 3% who really cares, then like and repost this.”
- “Type ‘amen’ if you need a miracle today.”
- “Like and share this in order to receive a special blessing today.”
There is no Biblical precedent for “typing ‘amen’ if you need a miracle” or sharing a post “if you are a part of God’s family.” Moreover, there is absolutely nothing in the Bible to lead us to believe that the simple act of sharing a post will bring us special blessings! Some Christians may claim that sharing these posts demonstrates that you are not ashamed of the Gospel (Romans 1:16). However, these posts are not the Gospel.
The Gospel is that Christ died for our sins, was buried, and rose from the dead so we can have salvation (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). Non-Christians take the Gospel seriously when we love them, meet their practical needs, and keep ourselves from being polluted by the world (Matthew 22:37-40, James 1:22-27), not when we share these types of posts on our social media accounts.
Another significant issue with these types of posts is that they are often created by disreputable organizations or individuals who are engaging in “like-farming.” When you like, share, and repin these posts, you are helping publicize these groups and individuals so they can find more scam victims or make money off of unsuspecting followers. Here’s how Consumer Affairs explains the process:
“Like-farmers start pages and fill them with content dedicated to collecting as many ‘likes’ or ‘shares’ as possible in the shortest amount of time.
Since Facebook’s algorithms place a high value on popularity (as measured by likes and shares), these highly liked and shared pages therefore have a much higher chance of appearing in people’s ‘Feeds’ and being seen by other Facebook users.
Then, once the page has a sufficiently high popularity rating, the like-farmer either removes the page’s original content and replaces it with something else (usually malware or scam advertising); leaves the page as is and uses it as a platform for continued like-farming in order to spread malware, collect people’s marketing information or engage in other harmful activities; or outright sells the highly liked site to cybercriminals in a black market web forum.
Many like-farmers rely on appeals to emotion: anytime you’re urged to ‘like’ or ‘share’ a post that pulls at your heartstrings or pushes your buttons, there’s likely a like-farmer behind it.”
This is scary, isn’t it? It’s likely that the like-farmers aren’t Christians and that they actually have malicious intentions.
This doesn’t mean that we can’t share Bible verses, inspirational stories, or prayer requests. It just means we should be loving and respectful in our approaches. If you want to share an inspirational picture, then do it. It you want to share a verse, then do it. Just don’t badger people into liking or sharing your post!
Though this is a lot to take in, it’s only the first of four types of posts I want to address. Join me next week to look at the other three.
Are you familiar with the types of posts I’ve described above? How do you usually respond when you see them?