How Many Likes Do I Need to Feel Good?
Because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. John 15:19
While in active addiction, I disliked being around those in recovery. The problem with those who are truly living in recovery, is that joy oozes out of them, expressing itself in their behavior and speech. Their sobriety and peace reminded me of my addiction and misery. Part of me wanted what they had, but another part of me just hated them for having it. I found myself hoping for them to fail and relapse.
On the other side myself now, living in the joy of recovery, I’m aware of how my sobriety may make the addict feel, but I don’t worry much about it. I certainly wouldn’t go back to using to make anyone feel better, and I’m probably not going to stop talking or writing about recovery simply to stop making the addict uncomfortable.
This seems to be a similar sentiment that Jesus taught in today’s passage. In it, Jesus told his disciples that just as the world hated and persecuted him, they too, will suffer a similar fate. Jesus insisted that whoever wanted eternal life, must turn from following themselves and follow him. Some followed Jesus, finding life. Many however, hated Jesus, because they didn’t want or need to change. Christ taught that if we repent, finding faith and recovery, we’re probably going to earn some hatred from those who aren’t interested. We need to learn to be OK with that.
The problem for a lot of us, is that we’re uncomfortable with the idea of disapproval or dislike. Some of us unfortunately, rely on the affirmation of those around us to feel good about ourselves. We don’t want to be Jesus freaks or recovery nuts, because we’re obsessed with our own status and popularity.
Jesus though, would insist that our worth isn’t found in how many likes we generate on social media. If we truly want to know life and peace, we must find it, not in the world’s affirmation, but in God alone. For some of us, the world’s approval itself is the addiction that we must abandon. In repenting from our way to follow God’s, we may not be loved by everyone, but in doing so, we won’t care, because we’ll be too busy experiencing the authentic life and joy that we could find nowhere else.