Be Careful What You “Like” Part 1

He likes it.If you’re anybody on Facebook, certainly you’ve seen that little word—like—that can say so much. It can boost a businesswoman’s confidence when she sees how many Facebook friends like her photography, or it can provide affirmation to a nervous high school senior who has finally make her college choice.

In many ways, though, I wish the folks over at Facebook had found a word other than “like.” Just the feel of the word throws me into a time warp back to sixth grade, when dog-eared notes were passed between classes (and sometimes during class). “Mandy Alexander likes Jerry Turley. XOXOXO. Mandy and Jerry sittin’ in a tree, k-i-s-s-i-n-g . . .”

There’s also something shallow (and a bit narcissistic) about the thrill we feel when we see how many others approve of something we said or the photos we posted or the YouTube video we linked to. This concept of “likes” brings up several important questions that deserve our consideration.

Are we measuring our personal value or worth based on whether others “like” us? Are we becoming slaves to what others think? Is this whole business surrounding the word “like” bringing out the best, or worst, in us?

Granted, we live in a competitive world, and it’s impossible to live life without “likes” being part of it. We buy certain foods because we “like” them and don’t buy those we don’t (“likes” drive commerce). We work hard, and our boss “likes” our work; therefore, we get a raise (“likes” drive business and finance our lives). An editor decides to publish our novels because she “likes” them (“likes” drive publishing).

Therefore, approval is, in many ways, the engine that empowers how life works. You know what they say—”The cream rises to the top.”

But can’t this business of desiring “likes” get out of hand? What if, for some people, getting life’s “likes” becomes sort of an addiction?

Becoming driven by what others think can tempt us to become preoccupied with self to an alarming degree. If the engine of our actions becomes more about what others think than about what’s right and virtuous, we can quickly turn into a bunch of egomaniacs. Or a bunch of musicians on American Idol whose weekly survival depends on whether we are liked more than someone else.

True, nobody wants to be disliked. But how does this likability pressure affect our motivations as believers? As children of God, what is our highest calling? It’s not to do things so others will like us but because we love God and long for the smile of His approval.

“Bondservants, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, with a sincere heart, as you would Christ, not by the way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart” (Eph. 6:5-6).

What about you? Is your life driven by the praise of man? All of us struggle with being people pleasers to some degree. How can we fight this pressure and keep the proper perspective?

Photo courtesy of http://www.freedigitalphotos.net.

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