We spend more time on social media than we want to admit. Because of that, it’s worth asking, “How does my faith in Christ influence what I post online?”
First, let me be clear: not everything in social media needs to be serious. Have fun. Post silly pictures. Share funny stories. But in the midst of the silliness, shouldn’t we still be thoughtful about how we are reflecting Christ online?
The following is a short set a questions that has been helpful for me based off Micah 6:8, which says, “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”
Does it promote justice and kindness?
- Is this post honest about life, or is it an edited version that I want to show people in an effort to look awesome? Is this post reflecting the “American Dream” or the life of Christ?
- Does this post reflect God’s Word and what He has said about mercy, justice, love and godliness? Or does this reflect false expectations about how the world talks about those things?
- Am I genuinely seeking to make people aware of injustice, or am I hopping on the latest bandwagon? Is this a real case on injustice, or has someone simply been offended? There’s a difference between being offended and suffering injustice.
- Is this post written in a way that is thoughtful and will not cause unnecessary offense? Sometimes in our efforts to raise awareness or add commentary, the way in which we say things is so thoughtless our actual point gets overshadowed.
Does it reflect humility?
- Am I being self-promoting right now? As a blogger this one is tricky, because I want people to read what I write, but I need to be writing it in order to help people (not in order to make a name for myself).
- Am I only thinking about people who are like me, or am I posting this with those who are different from me in mind? If someone voices disagreement (even if it’s over an issue I care deeply about), will I immediately get defensive or aggressive, or will I honestly consider their viewpoint?
- If I’m posting something that may be offensive to some, am I sharing this because it is truly worth the possible offense or backlash?
- Can you experience something great or something terrible without posting about it? If your first though is, “I need to share this,” then you may need to dig deeper into Christ-exalting humility.
Does it help people walk faithfully with God?
- Does your post direct people towards the good news of Jesus Christ? If our lives should point to Christ, then shouldn’t our online profiles?
- Is your social media filled with complaints, gripes, and rants? Or is it full of posts that highlight everything amazing about your life? Both of these extremes drive people away from worship (because either God is faithless to his children, or your life is so amazing you simply don’t need him). There is glorious hope in the daily grind of living for Christ.
- Are you posting so frequently about controversial topics that you’ve become a “social justice warrior” rather than an evangelist? If you constantly blast people with certain political/justice issues then they will not listen when you speak about Jesus… you will be tuned out.
- If someone scanned through your social media posts (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.), would they see someone whose life reflects Christ? This doesn’t mean you only and always share Christian-themed posts, but it does mean your profiles display the joys and trials (and the normalcy) of someone who is following Christ.
Again, don’t allow these questions to lead you to think social media needs to be all serious. It doesn’t, and it shouldn’t be. And yet, I hope these three main questions help you evaluate whether or not your social media platforms need to be recalibrated.
If there are other guidelines you frequently use to determine whether or not to share something online, please leave them in the comments below.