We concern ourselves here not with the profound truth found in Holy Scriptures, where it tells us that God is love (1 John 4:8), or the glorious definition of it in 1 Corinthians 13, but with today's post-modern idea of love. The heart of the "love wins" slogan. The amorphous, life-affirming, emotional tickling feeling that promotes "social justice," while drinking a venti Unicorn Frappuccino.
That love has failed and will continue to fail.
It inevitably fails because it is devoid of any of the true characteristics of love. True love stands apart from us. It comes from God, not humanity. The social media love of today is based on the old devil's lie of human "goodness." And it is bankrupt.
It leaves us empty, lonely, and depressed. How can we miss that?
How can we miss the climbing suicide rates? The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) found that, "From 1999 through 2014, the age-adjusted suicide rate in the United States increased 24%, from 10.5 to 13.0 per 100,000 population, with the pace of increase greater after 2006."
How can we miss the monumental increase in the use of antidepressants? In a study of 25 countries by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the antidepressant use in every country was on the rise. If the U.S. had been included in the study, it would have been at the very top of the list. From CDC data again: "Antidepressants were the third most common prescription drug taken by Americans of all ages in 2005-2008 and the most frequently used by persons aged 18-44 years."
How can we miss that the U.S., for all its technological advances, ranks among the most depressed countries in the world?
How can we miss our own hearts? We are not happy. For all the stats and stories we can continue to reference, you know you. How are you feeling? Do you feel better or worse after hours upon hours of binge watching the latest Netflix filth or Facebooking?
Because that's what today's modern gurus have to offer. It was surreal to see the headlines of Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg suggesting Facebook can replace the church as a person's community. Boasting about hitting the two billion users mark, he said, "People who go to church are more likely to volunteer and give to charity — not just because they're religious, but because they're part of a community."
How can we miss it so badly; we miss it all?
The essence of volunteering and charity within the Christian church is Christ. The good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is what motivates it. Community without Christ is nothing but a social club, devoid of any true love and any lasting motivation to do what is opposite to our self-serving humanity.
Sure, there is a sort of volunteerism and charity that can be done for one's own selfish gain, that others may see you — it is the kind of self-promoting on which Facebook thrives. But this sort of thing is not worthy of our admiration and promotion. It certainly has nothing to do with love. Not with the love of Scripture anyway.
On the contrary, Jesus' Sermon on the Mount calls us to give to the needy but to "not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret" (Matthew 6:3-4). To translate it to this generation: "Do not post it on Facebook or Instagram. Do not tweet or blog about it. No selfies, please."
"But why?" the liberal love promoters will tell us, "We need more of that. Let's promote those good works, that others may join in." That's the essence of Zuckerberg's call.
And it will fail, as it has failed so many times before, because it misses the whole point of love and service and charity and sacrifice: the glory of God and not man.
The liberal love of today fails because it disregards truth. Liberalism, though alluding to liberty, misses liberty altogether. "[W]here the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty," 2 Corinthians 3:17 says. But they've evicted any trace of the Spirit of Christ in exchange for a more tolerant spirit that they mistakenly believe can unite the world. "Man can do it," they cry. "Haven't I just brought together two billion people?" Zuckerberg may ask.
Is it any surprise then that enslavement, not liberty, has followed the social media craze? We know we are not free. We spend an inordinate amount of time and energy trying to break free from it all. To forget it all. Only this vague sense that others have figured it out (since we see how happy they are on their posts) keeps us on the futile search for water from the empty wells of the post-modern liberal love.
Our search will fail. It has failed.