Last week I posed this question: 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?
We then looked at the first of four types of posts that I think Christians should avoid posting on social media. Let’s examine the remaining types of posts today.
Things Christians shouldn’t share on social media
1. Posts that ask others to type “amen,” like, or share
Click here to read last week’s post where I shared my thoughts on these.
2. Posts that are complaints or rants
Social media is a hotbed for complaining and ranting. Perhaps it is because we know we will receive attention from others or because we feel emboldened by the fact that we don’t have to look others in the eye when we share. Whatever the reason, complaints and rants are commonplace.
The Bible is clear that this is not how Christians are to communicate. We are not supposed to grumble and complain (Philippians 2:14, James 5:9, 1 Peter 4:9), but are supposed to be thankful in all circumstances (1 Thessalonians 5:18). I know it is frustrating when we receive bad customer service, when our cars have mechanical troubles, or when the kids are fussing, but we need to go to the Lord with these challenges, not post our frustrations for the world to see.
By the way, this doesn’t just apply to social media! We shouldn’t be complaining or going on rants in our face-to-face communications either.
3. Posts that contain gossip, urban legends, or rumors
There are many false accounts that routinely make their rounds on social media. Even though they aren’t factual, somehow social media users can’t resist hitting the share button! Examples range from the rumor that you have to post certain text as your Facebook status in order to protect your privacy and intellectual property rights to “news” stories about how onions are germ magnets and shouldn’t be stored once cut.
It’s important that we avoid spreading gossip, urban legends, and rumors because the Bible teaches us that we shouldn’t spread false reports or speak deceit (Exodus 23:1, Psalm 34:13). Thankfully, it’s relatively easy to avoid spreading misinformation on social media. We simply have to check sources and exercise common sense.
If you see an interesting news story, make sure it was published by a reputable news agency before sharing it. If you see a fascinating health tip, check to see who is sharing the information before pinning it. If you read a juicy tidbit about a celebrity or politician that seems too sensational to be true, then it probably isn’t true! Be skeptical of the things you read online and don’t share them if you are not confident they are true.
4. Posts that belittle or rebuke non-Christians and their perspectives
Sometimes we take upon ourselves the task of convicting non-Christians of their sins. However, this is not our role—it’s the role of the Holy Spirit (John 16:8). Moreover, it’s not even our place to judge those outside of the faith (1 Corinthians 5:9-13). This means that we shouldn’t use social media as a platform to rebuke non-Christians for their mistakes.
Don’t get me wrong here. I’m not saying that we should mutely stand by and watch our hurting world destroy itself. We can and should lovingly and respectfully express our opinions and engage in meaningful discourse. Just keep in mind that pointed tweets, scathing memes, and sarcastic status updates don’t qualify as meaningful discourse.
As Christians, we should consider all of our posts in light of the following:
“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.” 1 Corinthians 13:1
“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” Ephesians 4:29
In other words, we should ask ourselves if we are posting something that is just noise or if we are posting something that is loving and edifying. If it is the former, then we probably shouldn’t post it.
Are you familiar with the types of posts I’ve discussed above? How do you typically respond when you see these? Are there other types of posts you think Christians should avoid making on social media?