Things go viral online nowadays for all kinds of reasons, and Christians are not exempt from such exposure.

Whether it’s a church conference that looks more like a concert, prayers that sound strange, or controversy surrounding a miracle – the things we do in church will occasionally attract attention from the secular world, for reasons good or bad.

While many believers might feel the urge to fight back in order to “defend” their faith and their church, it is important that we learn to exemplify how Christ would respond in such a situation.

And so, before we let our emotions get ahead of us, here are three principles that we should first keep in mind.

1. Humility

“Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, ‘children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.’ Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain.” (Philippians 2:14-16)

While some of us might easily dismiss the comments we see online as “irrelevant” because of a difference in values and understanding, it would be wise to be humble and consider what people say objectively.

After all, we are called to be blameless and pure, and to be ambassadors of Christ to the world (2 Corinthians 5:20). How we present ourselves to the watching world actually does matter, and how people view us is not “irrelevant”.

As Pastor Benny Ho always says, “Eat the meat and throw away the bones.” Consider the comments objectively, even if the tone or approach isn’t the kindest.

  • Could we have been more careful in the way we approach certain sensitive topics?
  • Does the way we tackle certain issues in church make it more prone to disagreements and criticisms?
  • Have we overlooked certain areas of people’s lives as we focus on others?

These are all good questions to consider and reflect on.

Rather than being quick to dismiss everything as false accusations, this could be an opportunity to examine how our church is functioning and to seek to improve.

If possible, we can also seek clarification and reconciliation with specific members so that there will be no grievances, and the Body of Christ can be blameless and pure.

2. Courage

“I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves. Be on your guard; you will be handed over to the local councils and be flogged in the synagogues. On my account you will be brought before governors and kings as witnesses to them and to the Gentiles. But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.” (Matthew 10:16-20)

While we should be humble to consider if we have fallen short or made mistakes, it certainly doesn’t mean that we need to be afraid of what the world says and allow it to hinder our mission.

As we examine ourselves, we must remember that we are ultimately not world-pleasers but God-pleasers.

This is not to say that we can be careless and become blinded by our pride or self-righteousness. We need to ensure that we are not merely defending human methods or ideologies, but are simply standing firm and standing up for what is right according to the Word of God (2 Timothy 3:14-17).

We also need to remember that the Bible did warn us about persecution.

Not everyone will agree with what we believe in and what we do, but we are called to represent Christ in these moments.

Be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves. Exercise discernment and judgement where necessary. Keep peace and practise self-control where necessary.

Ask the Holy Spirit for wisdom, discernment and empowerment so that we know what to say and how to respond (Matthew 10:19-20).

3. Solidarity

“If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.” (1 Corinthians 12:26)

When we see the names of other churches in viral posts or videos, we can easily adopt the “sit back and eat popcorn” kind of mentality.

We think that it is up to those churches to deal with their own problems, and we may even feel fortunate that it is not our church that is being talked about.

Sometimes, we may even begin to cast judgement on other churches because of the comments that we hear about them. We think that our church is better and that we would never make such mistakes.

However, we must remember that we are ultimately one Church. One Body of Christ. The one Bride that Jesus is returning to.

When one part of the Body suffers, every part suffers with it. We grieve together when other churches take a hit because the advancement of the Gospel has taken a hit.

Instead of distinguishing how your church and my church are different, seek to stand together in unity and solidarity. Make it our main priority to build one another up.

  • How can my church or community grow in those areas that are being discussed online?
  • How can I support my friends who are from that church?
  • How can I reach out to my pre-believing friends who might be aware of these incidents?

All of us have a part to play in protecting the unity of the Church and upholding the message of the Gospel.

It is not just up to the leaders of the churches, it takes every believer to build and protect the Body.

When Christians stand together in love and unity, that’s an opportunity to bring light into darkness even when believers go viral for the wrong reasons.

And if our Church and our faith are to go viral, let it be because God’s people love selflessly and build one another up in unity.

How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!

  1. Have you ever felt the urge to “fight back” when people make certain comments about your faith?
  2. What do discernment and self-control look like in such a situation?
  3. How can you do your part to build and protect the unity of the Church?