“Woe to you when all men speak well of you, For so did their fathers of the false prophets.” (Luke 6:26)
When we read the Beatitudes, we all love the “Blessed are…” bits – but we tend to overlook and forget the “Woe to…” admonitions that appear most strongly stated in the Gospel of Luke.
Jesus is indeed love, light and truth – and we all love focusing on that. But part of the truth of loving Him and understanding His message involves remembering the other things He said: His powerful rejection of the mores of the day’s religious leaders, emphasis on the causality created by God in our world, and the many warnings about being careful where we focus our attention. The above passage falls right in line with His many statements on this last topic:
“For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” (Matthew 6:21)
And even more directly in point:
“Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 6:1)
The passage is a reminder that what ‘everyone thinks’ is not necessarily the truth – and that people flock where they see numbers, often without any real perceptiveness. It also hints at the soul-eroding quality of craving popularity in the eyes of men.
Dangers of the Internet
The dangers of seeking man’s approval rather than God’s have become even more powerful with the advent of the Internet. Marketers and frequenters of social media (now a key factor in marketing success and the inflow of money and ‘all good things’) are taught to strive for ‘hits’, ‘visitors’, ‘likes’ and favorable comments. Algorithms in search engines further feed into this. And of course, the practice has moved beyond marketing into straight social activity, where it is in danger of becoming a fetish on the likes of Facebook.
Please understand I am talking here as a 20-years-on-the-net, ex-marketer who several years ago threw marketing away for this very reason, that I perceived the huge pitfalls of letting this whole approval-seeking, Internet fad become ingrained in the soul.
There are indeed many ways to fall into ‘The Trap’.
“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” (1 Peter 5:8)