What we say on the Internet says a lot about us. Do our social media messages reflect things God likes—or things He hates?
The Internet has carried the torch for instant gratification. With one click of a button, we can buy the latest video game, download the hottest album or purchase a stylish new pair of shoes.
We can have whatever we like!
And, even faster than buying a product online, we can also share our personal opinions in an instant. Social media users share images and articles that reveal opinions about politics, marriage, dating, raising children and many other facets of life. Social media can be a good way to have a laugh, encourage others or discuss current issues. However, many times posts can be distasteful and mean-spirited.
As Christians, we should be careful and thoughtful in posting and liking articles and memes. It says something about you!
Psychologist Michal Kosinski’s research has shown that your “likes” on Facebook can tell what kind of person you are. Kosinski argues that “likes” give Facebook a picture of who you really are.
Commenting about the study, Sam Gosling, a psychologist at the University of Texas at Austin, says, “You ‘Like’ something. You leave a comment on somebody’s wall. They are now recorded in a way that machines can calibrate and measure them with great accuracy. Together, they add up to substantially more information from which you can make quite reasonably accurate predictions.”
Facebook spokesman Fred Wolens agrees. “No matter the vehicle for information—a bumper sticker, yard sign, logos on clothing, or other data found online—it has already been proven that it is possible for social scientists to draw conclusions about personal attributes based on these characteristics.”
What does God like?
When deciding what kind of article or meme to like or share, what better question for a Christian to ask than “What does God like?” In the Bible, you won’t find any dos and don’ts for using social media. However, there are some principles we can use to make wise choices when sharing or liking stories.
Let’s take a look at what God is in favor of.
God “likes” righteousness (right ways)
If God were a Facebook user, would He approve of the article you just posted? Would He and Jesus Christ “like” the same meme you just liked?
King David gave us a look into what God likes: “For You, O LORD, will bless the righteous; with favor You will surround him as with a shield” (Psalm 5:12). Jesus Christ also pointed out the importance of righteousness to God (Matthew 5:6; 25:46).
Have you ever stopped and considered what righteousness means? It sounds like a fancy theological word. But, if God blesses the righteous, wouldn’t we want to strive for that blessing?
The Bible tells us what righteousness is: “My tongue shall speak of Your word, for all Your commandments are righteousness” (Psalm 119:172). Since God’s commandments are righteousness, it is obvious that Christians should follow and support His instructions. Furthermore, if we, like Abraham, faithfully do as God commands, our actions will also be accounted for righteousness (James 2:21-23).
Clearly, it is not only about thinking what is right—it’s also about doing what is right. In other words, righteousness is the application of right ways.
Putting this into the context of our activity on social media, what we like and share as Christians should coincide with these right ways defined by God. Please read the article “Armor of God: Breastplate of Righteousness” for a more detailed study of righteousness.
What God does not like
Hate is a strong word. Some people would even be surprised that a loving God could hate anything, but the Bible tells us He does. The Hebrew word translated hate is sane, and it implies having an enemy.
God loves for us to be striving for righteousness in our lives. God loves to see human beings who show respect and love for one another.Below are behaviors that God opposes. Obviously God hates all sin and evil. But here are some scriptures that give us a clearer picture of some of the things that need to be removed from our conduct so God can “like” us.
Pride has been around for a long time in the history of mankind. Cain’s jealousy of Abel’s offering was a major factor in the first murder. From then on, pride came in many shapes and forms—and it still exists!
As Christians, we must be active in stomping out pride in our lives—including our social media. Almost unknowingly, people can get involved in heated debates because of a post, a meme or an article. Have you ever been in this situation? Remember that angry feeling you had while typing frantically, hitting the “Enter” key and sending off your point of view? What was that “puffed up” feeling you felt?
Jesus Christ got to the heart of the matter: “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within and defile a man” (Mark 7:21-23, emphasis added).
Quite possibly, what you may have felt was pride. Posting or liking anything on social media that degrades another human being or makes you feel more intelligent than others is prideful. Don’t be fooled. Pride is not a good quality. As Christians, we should steer clear of these destructive attitudes.
A perverse mouth
Scrolling through Facebook or other types of social media can be like navigating through a minefield. For many, cursing is just a means of communicating, and it’s hard not to notice. Those of us striving to live God’s way of life must clean up the words that we say or write.
The wise King Solomon wrote, “The fear of the LORD is to hate evil; pride and arrogance and the evil way and the perverse mouth I hate” (Proverbs 8:13). Though we may know we personally should not curse and use profanity, we may think that does not apply to what we like and share on social media. Is this true?
James, Jesus’ half-brother, wrote about the human tongue, saying, “It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so” (James 3:8-10).
As an extension of our tongue, what we type should reflect our words in face-to-face godly conversations. We should think twice before sharing and liking something that reflects perversity or profanity of any kind.
God commands us not to lie (Exodus 20:16). He even goes so far as to say He hates lying (Proverbs 6:16-17; Zechariah 8:17). Again, this is an easily understood commandment. However, all too often a web article or meme is shared in which the information is twisted or blatantly false. For whatever reason, authors of these kinds of posts attract the attention of thousands of uninformed social media users. The result is a lie being spread around the Internet like wildfire.
To protect ourselves from being part of lies and false reports, consider what King Solomon wrote: “He who answers a matter before he hears it, it is folly and shame to him” (Proverbs 18:13). It can be really embarrassing to share an article that turns out to be hoax or a lie. Inspired by God, Solomon tells us to use wisdom and discernment before jumping to conclusions.
Such articles are usually hearsay and gossip. Throughout the Scriptures, there are warnings about partaking in this kind of activity (Proverbs 16:28; Matthew 12:36; Ephesians 5:4). Unfortunately, social media gives abundant opportunities for such things.
God does want us to share good stories and enjoy friendships directly and via social media. There are ways to have a better experience online by following godly principles and avoiding the common pitfalls mentioned above. The key is to put God first—even when it comes to social media.
What God loves …
God doesn’t just “like”—He loves. And His love is so much more than we can imagine (John 3:16). God wants us to follow His instructions in every aspect of our lives. God wrote the laws that guide us to happiness (Proverbs 29:18).
God loves for us to be striving for righteousness in our lives (Psalm 11:7). God loves to see human beings who show respect and love for one another (John 13:35; 1 John 4:20-21; James 2:8). What better way to show that we love Him than by doing what He instructs us to do (John 14:15; 15:10)?
A well-known meme (pictured at the beginning of this article) has made its way around social media, and its message is important for Christians to remember:
THINK before you post! Is it:
We want people to like us. We especially want God to like us. And, if we want God to love us, we should be doing what He “likes.”
To learn more about how to practice Christianity on social media, read:
- Are You Letting Your Light Shine on Social Media?
- How to Avoid Being Constantly Offended: Social Media
- A Case for Social [Media] Distancing