When it comes to choosing a new restaurant to try or a hotel to stay at, we all give a glance at the establishment’s star rating. Five star, then it’s top notch. Three star, not too bad. One star, I’ll keep looking.
A new rating system came with the rise of social media. It’s not stars but likes, symbolized by a thumb. It’s not about how many thumbs you get. You either get a thumbs up or you don’t. Tumb’s up, that’s a good thing. No one wants to be thumbs down.
I’ve taken to reading the daily news on my phone app in recent years. I don’t have to subscribe; it comes to me for free. I can read from news sources across the United States, from the Chicago Tribune to Time Magazine. All the major news outlets are at my fingertips, and my phone app gives me the option to rate them. I can like them, or dislike them. It uses that info to show me more of the ones I like.
Instead of that “like” being in the shape of stars, or even a thumb, it’s in the shape of a heart. If I like it, the heart turns red. If I don’t like it, the heart goes grey and gets a line through it like it’s being crossed out. I cannot bring myself to click the heart, or to unclick it, for any news source; NPR, Fox News, or the New York Times, because I’m certainly not dedicated to any one of them. I’m not dedicated enough to give them my heart.
The way we are encouraged to give away our digital heart by liking this and that reminds me of just how fickle love is in our world. What we might give our heart to today with a touch of our phone screen we can take back tomorrow just as easily.
Thank the LORD that he didn’t friend us with a touch of his phone or click on his computer to give us his heart. Giving his heart to us wasn't something he did from the comfort of his seat up in Heaven. He actually sent his love down to us in the person of Jesus. 1 John 4:10 says, “In this is love...that he loved us and sent his Son.” He didn’t do it because we were particularly likeable either. In Deuteronomy 7:7 he says, “It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the LORD set his love on you and chose you” and in Deuteronomy 9:6 the LORD says it was “not because of your righteousness.” Why then would the LORD like us? Why would he give us his heart? Because his love, unlike anything we find coming from this world, is forever, not fickle. Psalm 136 repeats it over and over, “His steadfast love endures FOREVER.” Forever love doesn’t look like a heart icon popping up on your social media. Forever love looks like a real heart crossed out with a spear. Real blood poured out. John 19:34-35 says, “soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water. He who saw it has borne witness—his testimony is true, and he knows that he is telling the truth—that you also may believe.”
This all so that we might believe, believe what? The same John who bore witness to that event below the cross tells us; God, “sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us” (1 John 4:10-12).
That’s forever love, first from God to us! Then, forever love from us to others. That’s something to think about before you give your heart away, on social media, or anywhere else.