Not long ago, I had a theory: if at least ten percent of my friends LIKE my status I had achieved Facebook success. Anything less than 10% and I should delete the post, change my name and move to another country.
Although my theory was flawed and my motive ill-conceived at best, I ultimately realized that our desire to be liked, even in cyber-space, is rooted in our need for positive feedback and inspiration – two important acts of kindness. Although social media provides an easy way to share our love and support for one another, we should never confuse the enormous impact of what God refers to as ‘unfailing’ kindness with the frivolous act of clicking LIKE on Facebook.
In a time before social media, kindness was readily expressed in more meaningful ways. A young man would help an elderly woman take her grocery bags to the car or a neighbor would share a plate of warm cookies with the kids next door. Although these acts of kindness still exist, in a world where 1.2 billion people are on Facebook monthly, our standard for how we express our support for one another has shifted.
Our accomplishments and sometimes our failures are expressed to the world on-line instead of over the phone or in-person. And when our friends applaud our efforts by hitting LIKE or come to our rescue with an appropriate quote of inspiration, we often feel less alone. Even amongst the clutter created by selfie-enthusiasts and Candy Crush fanatics, staying connected and sharing a part of our lives with those we love is important. But when kindness is minimized to hitting LIKE on a computer screen, its impact is diminished.
When we click a mouse instead of picking up a phone, we acknowledge what our loved ones have accomplished but fail to express words of kindness that are sustaining. When we click a mouse instead of praying for and with those we love, we miss an opportunity to intercede before God on their behalf and to show an inexhaustible compassion – the same compassion God shows us every day.
As Christians and Facebook citizens, it’s important to never forget that the Great Commission has not changed because of technology. Although Facebook is a great way to show your support, God’s word remains the same and His expectation that we offer others an unfailing kindness even in a changing world is worth more than a million LIKES.
So the next time you hit LIKE, follow-up your support with a prayer and words of inspiration and continue to show those you love the loving-kindness, grace and mercy God has shown us all.
Jeremiah 31:3 (NIV)
“I have loved you with an everlasting love;
I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.”