Before you post on social media, ask yourself these six questions.
1. Is it true?
I know this one might seem like a no-brainer, but sometimes we blur the lines of what’s true and what isn’t online. I find it especially tempting to convey a message about what my life is like that doesn’t tell the whole truth.
Be the real you, not a shined-up, pretend version.
Ephesians 4:25 says it this way: “Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another.”
Part of laying falsehood aside is refusing to project an image of ourselves that is fake. Be the real you, not a shined-up, pretend version.
2. Does it build others up?
If it doesn’t build others up, don’t say it (or type it or post it).
Ephesians 4:29 says it this way: “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”
God’s Word tells us to zip our lips unless we can say something that elevates others.
Social media can be a hotbed for drama. It’s tempting to jump in and voice our opinions constantly, but God’s Word tells us to zip our lips unless we can say something that elevates others. This includes passive-aggressive posts, not specifically naming someone but clearly communicating our frustration. If you are annoyed with someone or his or her position, pray for that person. Don’t post it.
3. Does it need to be said?
Check out these two power-packed verses:
Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble (Prov. 21:23).
Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent (Prov. 17:28).
Just because we think it doesn’t mean we have to post it. Here are a few additional questions to help you decide if something needs to be said.
- Is it helpful?
- Is it original? (Or am I just saying the same thing everyone else is?)
- Will I be glad I said this after I calm down?
4. Is it all about me?
Philippians 2:3 says, “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.”
Just because we think it doesn’t mean we have to post it.
I have a hunch that part of the reason we all love social media so much is because it gives us a chance to talk about our favorite subject—ourselves. But the Bible encourages us to think about ourselves less and others more.
Does a constant string of selfies, personal achievements, and announcements of our mood elevate us or others?
(For more on putting Instagram into focus, check out this post.)
5. Does it say in public something better said in private?
The Bible gives us a clear model for dealing with sin among believers in Matthew 18:15–20. Here’s a breakdown.
- First, make sure the sin is against you (v. 15).
- Go to your Christian brother or sister one to one and try to talk it out just between the two of you (v. 15).
- If that doesn’t work, take one or two other Christians with you and try to talk it out again (v. 16).
- If that doesn’t work, involve your church leadership (v. 17).
- If that doesn’t work, separate yourself from the relationship (v. 17).
There is no room here for public blasting or criticizing. God’s Word encourages us to handle conflict with our Christians friends in person and in private.
(PS: The Bible also teaches to leave the judgment of people outside the church up to God).
6. Does it point to my Father?
Matthew 5:15–16 says, “Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”
Do people know you’re a Christian when they see your Facebook profile? If a non-Christian looked at your page, would they see light there or darkness?
Clean Up, Clear Out
Go back through your social media history with these six questions in mind. Delete anything that doesn’t pass the test.
Moving forward, ask yourself these questions every time you post. Ask the Lord to teach you to glorify Him online.
Are there any questions you’d add to the list?