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Reputation Building: One Facebook Post, Retweet, and Instagram Photo at a Time

Digital Interaction

I had the opportunity this past weekend to speak with a crowd of young people about social media from a Biblical point-of-view. We began with the wisdom of Proverbs 22:1.

A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches,
__ and favor is better than silver or gold.

This timeless facet of wisdom applies because I'm not living two distinct lives--a "real" life and a "social media" life. Each of us is living one life with one reputation. Every single one of my Facebook interactions, retweets, and Instagram photos is a building block of that one life impacting my one reputation--a reputation that is priceless. While riches may come and go, reputations--for good or for bad--last a lifetime.

So how are my social media interactions impacting my reputation? We used Ephesians 4:17-5:17 as our key text, allowing it to pose some eternally-serious questions.


Who isn’t thinking before they share?

Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. (Eph 4:17)

One who is wise is cautious and turns away from evil,
__ but a fool is reckless and careless. (Prov 14:16)

Who has a hard heart?

They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. (Eph 4:18)

A fool takes no pleasure in understanding,
__ but only in expressing his opinion. (Prov 18:2)

Who doesn’t care?

They have become callous... (Eph 4:19a)

Every prudent man acts with knowledge,
__ but a fool flaunts his folly. (Prov 13:16)

Who has surrendered to sensuality?

They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. (Eph 4:19)

Who doesn’t tell the truth?

Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. (Eph 4:25)

Who doesn’t handle anger and frustration well?

Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil. (Eph 4:26-27)

The vexation of a fool is known at once,
__ but the prudent ignores an insult. (Prov 12:16)

Who is willing to steal?

Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. (Eph 4:28)

Who puts other people down?

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. (Eph 4:29)

It is an honor for a man to keep aloof from strife,
__ but every fool will be quarreling. (Prov 20:3)

Who gives “full vent” to his or her spirit?

Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. (Eph 4:31)

A fool gives full vent to his spirit,
__ but a wise man quietly holds it back. (Prov 29:11)

Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise;
__ when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent. (Prov 17:28)

Who is immodest?

But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. (Eph 5:3)

Who has a filthy heart?

Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. (Eph 5:4)

Who is not (and may never be) content?

For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. (Eph 5:5)

Who shares what is shameful?

Therefore do not become partners with them; for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. (Eph 5:7-12)

Or am I building the reputation of someone who is an imitator of God?

Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. (Eph 4:32-5:2)

While reputations are built over the course of a lifetime, they can be destroyed with a single click of the mouse or swipe of the thumb.

Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. (Eph 5:15-17)