Whether writing, posting a picture, or sharing someone’s work, our social media posts are attributed to each of us personally. Each person’s activity on social media can irreparably change everyone else’s perception of that person. Facebook is especially troublesome, as users are not limited by the amount of characters. It has been said, “Facebook is a collection of people that you know, but wish you didn’t and Twitter is a group of followers who you do not know, but wish you did.”
As Christians, we must be careful about what we share or write on any platform. Marriages have been torn apart, jobs have been lost, and lives broken by ill-conceived content shared on social media.
In James 3:6, we are taught, “The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.”
Not only may we be committing a sin by our post, but it also could cause others to stumble. In 1 Corinthians 8:9, Paul wrote, “but take care that this liberty of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak.”
Bearing this in mind, here are eight things Christians should probably refrain from doing on social media:
1. Sharing Risqué Photos
We all have moments when we post that assumingly innocent beach photo of our spouse and proclaim our forever love for them. Then, on second thought after it is posted, we realize too much skin was revealed.
The Gospel of Matthew details that adultery encompasses more than sexual intercourse. We learn in Matthew 5:38: ‘But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.’
We know you think your wife is hot, or you wouldn’t have married her. I wonder if one could surmise that (unscientifically) 8 out of 10 marriages end in divorce six months after a spouse posts the “I have the best man/woman alive” declaration about their spouse.
We are inviting others to commit adultery within their heart when we post “revealing photos.”
2. Posting “Forgive the Language, But This is Too Good” Content
We’ve all watched the funny video or political diatribe rant, but it has those few unnecessary curse words thrown in for effect by the creator. We feel it is too good not to post, so we share it anyway with the tagged “language warning.”
This type of post is akin to beginning a conversation with the pretexts of either “I don’t mean to be offensive, but” or “Don’t take this the wrong way, but.” What’s the difference between curse-laden humor and angry tirades with expletives? In James 3:10, it was written “from the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.”
We risk losing our testimony when we praise our God one day in a post, then post vulgar language the next.
3. Being Vague and Coded
This type of post contains no details as to who or what is involved, but goes on to rant against a general action that some unnamed person has done to ruin the poster’s life. In Colossians 3:8, we are warned to put away “anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.”
Many times we catch ourselves wanting to vent on social media.
Once upon a time, we had “secret diaries” in which we wrote down our innermost thoughts and feelings. When we caught our parents or siblings reading this “super-secret” piece of literary genius, we were utterly embarrassed.
However, our society today has no shame, and wishes to share every detail of our misfortunes and desires with literally the whole world. Paul wrote in 1 Thessalonians 4:11, we are “to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you.” He preached that working was the most effective way to preserve peace and contentment.
When we attend to our own business, we avoid getting caught up with those who (under a pretense of affection) attempt to meddle in the business as a way of creating discord. Christ taught that we should not encourage division, animosities, or contentions.
4. Sharing Fake News or Gossip
We have a duty not to share unfounded rumors despite the desire of wanting to be the first “to get the word out.” These types of posts include clearly false political posts in the attempt to make our political party look good and the opposing party look like a group of heathen.
Proverbs 19:9 teaches that “a false witness will not go unpunished, and whoever pours out lies will perish.” Further in Proverbs 11:13, “a gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy person keeps a secret.” Many times these posts invoke contention because they involve political or other controversial topics.
It’s doubtful that any good can result from a social media argument. It’s unlikely that any Republican or Democrat has ever switched aisles simply because of a Facebook post or video. Proverbs 18:6-8 tells that a “’fools’ words get them into constant quarrels; they are asking for a beating.”
5. Boasting About New Possessions
Many times the poster pretexts these posts as “blessings from God.” Clearly, however, when we post photos of our million-dollar house or $60,000 sports car, we are searching for more than an “Amen” or “Praise God” from God’s faithful.
These posts are made in an attempt to brag about what we have and what “you ain’t got.”
Consider what 95% of the people on your friends list think about their lives when they compare your blessings with theirs. Paul reasoned in 2 Corinthians 11:30 that “If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.” Additionally, in Exodus 20:17, it was written: “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”
By posting our new “acquisitions,” we are enticing our audience to covet our positions.
6. Commenting in a Seemingly Innocent, but Flirtatious Way
We all have received or sent that text or email which was taken totally out of context. The written word lacks personal inflection and tone. Thus, written communications are often misinterpreted. Please think before you comment or even “like” that picture of an ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend. Someone (most likely your current spouse) will see your compliment and deem it inappropriate.
It is often beneficial to ask oneself, “what good can come from this comment or action?” Additionally, others in the general audience will see your actions and begin to doubt the status of your current relationship or marriage.
7. Pulling Pranks
Just as the meaning of complimentary comments to the opposite sex can be misconstrued, what one thinks is funny can be offensive or crude to the intended recipient.
We all think we are the funniest and most creative person on social media. However, have you ever witnessed posts that were meant to be a joke, but they turn into a circumstance of embarrassment and hurt feelings.
In Ephesians 5:4, Paul preached: “Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.”
8. Posting Invitations to Pity Parties, Party of One
You know the post, “I am the ugliest person ever” and the “no one loves me.” Paul preached in Romans 12:2, to “not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
Deeming oneself as unattractive is demeaning a creation of God and allows our world to set the standard of beauty. “Pity Party” posts are most likely merely invitations to others to rebut the contention. However, these posts only reveal the insecurities of the poster.
Social media can be a valuable resource to keep up with long lost friends and family members.
Additionally, it facilitates communication of news and information to a large group of people.
However, more often than not, it is used as a tool for the devil to distract believers from Christ.
In today’s culture, we are guilty of opening up Facebook more often than our Bibles. Additionally, social media gives many users an avenue for secret behaviors and communications, which are destructive to his/her “real relationships.” Just as we should for any communications, we should think before we talk...and type.
Chad Napier is a believer in Christ, attorney at law, wannabe golfer, runner, dog lover, and writer. He enjoys serving his church as a deacon and Sunday School teacher. You can find him on Facebook, Twitter, and at his golf devotion par3sixteen.com. He and his wife Brandi reside in Tennessee with their canine son, Alistair.
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