". . . and having done all . . . stand firm." Eph. 6:13


How Should Christians Engage with Social Media?

February 25, 2024

The widespread popularity of social media has fostered a powerful global connectivity that increases access to art, culture, entertainment, and news from around the world. While these things enrich human lives, social media also exposes many people to misinformation, pornographic content, and ideological tit-for-tats that sow discord, confusion, and anxiety among users.

On one hand, social media can encourage people in truth, beauty, and hope. On the other hand, social media can damage people’s emotional, mental, and spiritual wellbeing. Speech has power. While the common medium has shifted from penned to printed to posted, the power of words has remained the same. Proverbs 18:21 tells us, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.”

Under the Great Commission, Christians have a responsibility to share the Good News and represent Christ on social media platforms. Paul witnessed and reasoned with the people in the common gathering places in Athens and Jerusalem. Modern Christians should also go where the world gathers today. Our witness online should reflect the Bible’s teachings on the godly use of our words, eyes, and minds.

The Bible gives Christians clear instruction on the qualities of godly speech. Ephesians 4:29 says, “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.”

Colossians 4:6: “Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.”

Proverbs 15:1, 4: “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. … A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit.”

From these verses we learn that Christian speech should be encouraging, apt, gracious, and gentle. We also learn from Colossians 4:6 that our conversations should be such that we understand how “to answer each person.” This means that we should focus more energy on personalized conversations that build genuine friendships rather than on posting generalized statements.

When talking with a friend or posting online, we should be careful to “give grace to those who hear.” This does not mean a wishy-washy presentation of the truth. Nor does it mean an all-out refusal to call attention to sins and injustices in our society. It means that when we do these things, our rhetoric reflects that we respect people on the other side as human beings made in the image of God and beloved by Him. It means not calling out sin without also pointing others to the saving mercy of Jesus Christ. It means acknowledging that we, too, were once enemies of God and that even while we were sinners, He loved us. In Christianity, enmity is not met with condemnation, but loving grace through Christ.

Verses like Ephesians 5:4, Proverbs 11:12, and Proverbs 10:9 admonish crude, belittling, rash language and inappropriate jokes. While American Christians should cherish the freedom of speech that we enjoy under the Constitution, we should exercise this freedom with a hefty dose of self-restraint. When Pilate questioned Jesus, Jesus remained silent. In a world that demands constant advocacy, virtue signaling, and influencing, the Lord instructs the wise to “be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger.” (James 1:19).

Many people engage on social media by viewing others’ content. The Bible gives clear direction on this as well. Luke 11:34 and Matthew 6:22-23 warn Christians that “your eye is the lamp of your body” and that through our eyes our bodies are filled with either light or darkness. In Psalm 119:37, David asks God, “Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things; and give me life in your ways.”

What we see goes into our minds. What we spend time thinking about affects our spiritual, mental, and emotional health. An unhealthy mind causes unwellness in the body. God, our Great Physician, teaches us that we should care for our mental health by meditating on “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise” (Philippians 4:8).

Social media offers an enormous range of content, good and bad. Christians should ask themselves, “What am I spending time looking at and why?” Christians should avoid content that causes anxiety, confusion, lust, pride, vanity, jealousy, anger, despair, addiction, and idolatry. This will look different for different people. Christians should know their personal spiritual weaknesses and pay attention to the conviction of the Holy Spirit in their hearts.

Social media is a modern medium for the ancient human activity of communication. God has tons to say on this topic — more than can be covered here. Here are some verses for further study: 2 John 1:12, Luke 6:45, Ephesians 6:12, 1 Corinthians 15:33, Romans 14:19, and Galatians 1:10.

Natalie Spaulding serves as an intern at Family Research Council.