September 14th, 2013| Topic: RaMbLeS | 4


If you are a Facebook user who posts stuff, you know the feeling.

That rush of whatever in your brain, when you get a “Like!” Someone likes your post, your picture, your current activity, your accomplishment, your dog, your house, your phone, your good looks, your smarts, your car, your toothpaste, ….

TIME reported on a study recently that had unraveled what lies at the bottom of that zing that you get with a “Like!”

Apparently, it’s the reward center in your brain getting a chemical boost.

In a study published in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, Dr. Dar Meshi and his colleagues at Freie Universität in Berlin studied brain images of FB users who were watching pictures of themselves or of others that had positive social feedback captions tagging them.

And the reactions of these users to this feedback was predictive of how intensely they used Facebook. The researches examined their subjects to gauge the activity of a region in the brain called the nucleus accumbens, that processes pleasant feelings about food, sex, money, social acceptance and stuff. Those who reacted strongly, and more powerfully to their own “Liked!” pictures than to others’ pictures, the scientists said, were invariably those who spent a lot of time on the social media site. In other words, if you are a “like” hyper-reactor, you’re probably addicted to Facebook!

I suppose all of this is not surprising, since we “like” ourselves and want ourselves to be “liked” by others, as well.

The Bible is quite accurate in its diagnosis of the condition of mankind.

For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant,
revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving,
irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal,
haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited,
lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.
2 Timothy 3:2–4

I am not convinced that this is a new disease. A more virulent mutant perhaps, its contagion spreading rapidly in a media-saturated culture. An epidemic of highly activated nuclei accumbens. After all, these days, anyone can be a celebrity via YouTube and Twitter. Attention-seeking behavior is everywhere. We all want that high of a “Like!” whether on FB or elsewhere.

The other day, after a sermon, a kind lady came up to me and said that I did good. I (pseudo-)humbly said it wasn’t me, but the Lord. She said, “Well, it wasn’t that good!”

Needless to say, my nucleus accumbens had a heart-attack and went into a premature demise. So much for being “Liked!”

So all these social media pursuits are a chase for a high? So that we can feel better? A hunt for compliments?

One might counter by asserting that the Bible declares us as loved by God.

In this is love, not that we loved God,
but that He loved us and sent His Son
to be the propitiation for our sins.
1 John 4:10

Surely, you might say, that permits us to love ourselves and chase “Likes!”

I find it interesting that John, after telling us that God loves us, proceeds to use that as a basis—not for us loving ourselves—but for us loving others.

Beloved, if God so loved us,
we also ought to love one another.
1 John 4:11

And all this after he has just given us a revolutionary exhortation that depicts what it means to love like Jesus Christ.

We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us;
and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.
1 John 3:16

It is enough to be “Liked!” by God.

Now we need to “Like!” others.


  1. John Hilber September 16, 2013 at 10:12 am

    Being an ex-Facebook user who now looks for opportunities to diss this ill-reputable corporation, I must say to your opening illustration: “Like”! Of course, I would not want to insult you by remembering your illustration and missing your point. So . . . I’ll say “thanks” for your reminder that the love of God (received and extended to others) is at the “heart” of it all.


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