Although it happened years ago, I remember when Chrissy Teigen and John Legend suffered a devastating miscarriage. I’m not a fan of theirs. The articles popped up in my feed because I’ve been very open about my own miscarriage and fertility issues.
So why would I remember that? I remember it because I made the mistake of reading the comments on one of the articles. There was one comment that said something along the lines of, “They’re such terrible people. They deserve it.”
I was flabbergasted that someone would say something so terrible about such a terrible loss. I decided to click on the person’s profile, only to find it plastered with Christian images and sentiments. How could someone who claims to follow the same Christ I do say something so awful?
4 Things Christians Shouldn’t Have in Their Comments
If you’re a Christian on social media, some things shouldn’t be in your comments. This goes for both comments on friends’ posts and news articles. The following four things are incredibly damaging to your witness.
Dehumanizing others is one of the biggest mistakes we make when we leave nasty comments on news articles. All too often, we look at celebrities and politicians as if they’re characters on TV instead of real, breathing people (made in the image of God).
When you comment something about a famous person online, remember that you’re saying those things about a real person. No matter how removed their life is from your own, your words expose your unkindness. Maybe not to the celebrity, but almost certainly to your friends and family.
I saw a TikTok video where a person talked about sending screenshots of the nasty things men say to their moms or wives. While your loved ones might not get inbox messages with screenshots of what you say, your comments can easily end up in their social media feeds.
Name-calling is one of my biggest personal pet peeves. There is nothing Christlike about calling people names. A Facebook friend of mine recently shared a Tweet someone posted that called him a “soy boy,” an insult a few of my friends have received from other Christians.
If you start your comment by calling someone a name, I will wholeheartedly disagree with what you have to say. Even if I agree with your position, calling someone else a name is indefensible. I’ve even found myself defending someone I disagreed with because the name-calling from “my side” was so ugly.
No one will care about the content of your criticism or the validity of your position if you resort to name-calling. It’s entirely unbecoming, especially coming from Christians.
Spreading misinformation is one of the quickest ways to make your views look illegitimate. I’m not talking about things that have heavy debate on both sides. I’m talking about things that are quick to confirm with an online search.
For example, every year I see people share that the term “Black Friday” comes from the days when slavery was legal in the United States. The day after Thanksgiving, or so the rumor goes, people would sell their slaves for discounts. That’s how our “Black Friday” tradition began.
This is completely false. Yet I see Christians share this and other rumors on a regular basis. We take this false information that we didn’t verify into the comment sections on news articles. Unfortunately, it makes us look incredibly foolish.
4. Holier-than-thou Posturing
It’s a natural impulse to consider what you’d do in another person’s situation. Many of the repugnant comments I’ve read come from people who know they would have handled a situation better than the subject of the news article.
And while that may be true, there’s a difference between saying, “I would have handled that differently” and “I’m so much smarter than that person because I would have done things differently.” When we ride our high horse into the comment section, we often end up looking like the tone-deaf hypocrites the world already thinks we are.
What About Calling Out Evil Behavior?
How are we supposed to call out evil without damaging our witness? There’s a difference between attacking ideas and attacking people. As Christians, we should advocate for others and make the world a better place. We should want to do good in the world. Sometimes that means confronting powers and people who do great harm to others.
However, the way we do these things matters. There’s a difference between saying, “His policies are harmful” and “He’s a complete idiot.”
While there are certainly places in the Bible where God’s prophets have used strong language to communicate a message, I urge Christians to use caution when doing the same. There will be times for strong (and even “offensive”) language, but commenting on the latest celebrity news probably isn’t the time or place.
If we sacrifice our Christlikeness in an attempt to make others Christlike, we’ve missed the point entirely. Before you comment, ask yourself, “What will this comment communicate to fellow believers? What will it communicate to nonbelievers?” If your comment isn’t reflecting Christ, don’t leave it.