7 ways Christians should behave online
1. No soapbox. We are told to “do everything without arguing or complaining” (Phil. 2:14). That doesn’t mean we can’t support causes we believe in, but they should be moral and biblical issues, not personal agendas.
2. No public bashing. Unless you’ve practiced Matthew 18 principles, and even then it would be rare, don’t address your problems with others online. It’s not helpful and never promotes peace (Rom. 12:18; Heb. 12:14).
3. No little jabs. We shouldn’t say things about others that may be misinterpreted as a stab against them. Guard your online tongue (James 3). I see this especially as a passive-aggressive tactic. We feel safe evoking insults or cuts to another person online that we would never say to their face.
4. Encouragement. Social media can be a great way to encourage others. We shouldn’t spam with massive amounts of posts. Few appreciate the person who reshares everything they see, but most everyone likes to read an encouraging word pointed especially to them (Eph. 4:29).
5. Do to others. As we’d have them do to us. We should always think before we post. Pause. Breathe. Think. Post. Ask yourself how you would be impacted by the post before you post it (Luke 6:31).
6. Guard against pride. We have to be careful with self-promotion and bragging about ourselves online. Granted, this is coming from one who has built an online platform online, and I frequently encourage other pastors to do the same. It’s one of the best ways currently to engage people for kingdom building. But this is a reminder for me too. We must check our motives, guard our hearts and never allow our egos to rob glory from what God wants to do through our online presence (Prov. 11:2; 13:10).
7. Do not allow it to be a replacement for community. It’s easy to post “Happy birthday” or reply “Praying for you” without really doing so. We shouldn’t trade the functions of the body for an online presence (Acts 2:42-47; Heb. 10:24).
Those are seven that come to my mind. What would you add? (Be general, please, and not specific in your comments, so as not to violate the purpose of the post.)
Ron Edmondson is a church planter and pastor with a heart for strategy, leadership and marketing, especially geared toward developing churches and growing and improving the kingdom of God.