On Virtue Signaling
The relevance of Scripture takes my breath away. I marvel at the fact that the Bible, though ancient, touches on every issue of life that we experience today. Here’s an example of that.
Have you heard of the term “virtue signaling?” It means to act in a certain way to gain moral credibility with other people. Imagine a person, motivated by a desire for “likes,” posts a picture of themselves volunteering at the local dog shelter with the comment, “Doing my part to help!” That’s virtue signaling. It proliferates in our social media age.
Long before someone coined the term, the Lord Jesus Christ spoke against virtue signaling in Matt 6:1–4:
“Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be
seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in
heaven. Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you,
as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be
praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But
when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right
hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees
in secret will reward you.”
In other words, virtue signaling is a sin. We are not supposed to flaunt our “righteousness” before others—whether online or offline. Rather, we are to quietly serve the Lord. No fanfare should accompany our obedience. Jesus nailed this way before millennials came up with “virtue signaling.” Remember: God’s Word is “living and active” (Heb 4:12).