Resisting the Pharisee Temptation on Social Media

By Daniel Darling

From COVID to racial unrest to a divisive political election, there was no shortage of ways in 2020 to trust in ourselves and look down on everyone else. Brands are quick to remind us they’re on the side of science, against racism, and want us to vote. And our social platforms are like modern-day temples where, like the Pharisee, we can clarify multiple times a day that we are not like those grifting public servants. Even at home, we are not immune to displaying our creeds on lawn signs.

For Christians, there is value in letting the world know where we stand, declaring the truth, and being ready to “give a defense to anyone” (1 Pet. 3:15). We shouldn’t hesitate to use our voices to stand up for the vulnerable and against injustice. And yet our words can so easily morph from prophetic witness to Pharisaical tribal signaling. In an era where it has become a cultural rite to declare that we’re on the right side of history on every issue, Christians are not immune to this. We are tempted to broadcast our own righteousness by letting everyone know—on social media, in articles and blogs, even in published books—that we are not like those other kinds of Christians.

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