By Molly Stevens
As I’ve watched social media grow, the line of what to share and not to share seems to becoming more and more blurred. I’ve seen famous “youtubers” and “instagrammers” with 1000s of followers filming videos and making posts explaining break ups, or why a friendship ended, etc. And the sad thing is, these posts are getting more attention and becoming more popular. Before I get any further into this I want to make it clear that I don’t hate social media, in fact I LOVE it! When it’s used in the right way, that is. I love the friendships it creates and the amazing communities i’ve found through it, but as daughters of the Most High King we need to be using it in a way that glorifies God.
So how do we know how to distinguish between being authentic vs airing our dirty laundry on social media?
I think first we need to truly examine our hearts before we press post or publish. We need to ask ourselves if our heart in the post is to honor God, bring glory to Him, or is it to tear someone down or manipulate someone?
In Ephesians 4:29 it says, “Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear it." In this chapter, Paul is writing to the church in Ephesus and is giving instructions to Christians of how to walk out their faith. When he says edification it means building up of someone's soul, so essentially he is saying don’t say something unless it will build someone up and encourage them.
Now of course when this letter was written there was no social media, but the same commandments apply whether it is spoken out of your mouth or written in your Instagram caption.
When we post negatively about drama, or issues with friends, boyfriends, husbands or whatever it may be, we are dimming the light of Christ that is within us. As Christians we are ambassadors for Christ, so when we are posting things on social media to tear others down or to expose issues, we are not showing the world the amazing love of Christ.
So what does being real and authentic on social media look like then?
It looks like daughters of God using the platform in a way that demonstrates the love and wisdom of Christ. I think 1 Thessalonians 5:11 spells it out pretty clearly when it says, “So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing." Being authentic doesn’t mean that we need to share all the private details of our lives, but instead it means sharing Godly wisdom and insight that we gain when we do walk through tough times.
When we are walking through those tough seasons, or issues with friends, instead of posting about it immediately, go to God first. Let him heal your heart and give you wisdom on the situation. Then if you choose to share about whatever you are walking through, you are doing it with the heart of Christ and with the intention of encouraging others and building them up.
Another good test is to read about the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22, and use that as a measure to see if what you’re posting aligns with God’s heart. I challenge you this week to compare every single thing you post to this verse, and be honest with yourself to see if the post is producing, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control.
“But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!” Galatians 5:22