Oh the façade of plastic smiles! You can find it everywhere. We forcefully paint out these fake smiles when around with those where money, power, status, recognition, media reigns. Quite shockingly it has managed to carve a niche within the church as well. You can see it behind the pulpits, in the choir, in the powers that run it, behind almost every ministry. What ‘Bold and the Beautiful’ is to the world, ‘Souled and the Dutiful’ is to the church. Where most believers are wary of the ‘Doubting Thomas’, least care is taken to check the ‘Touting Thomas’. It is all veiled though. It flourishes better under the garb of glamour, professionalism, spiritualism. It does not stop there. It’s drastically progressed from the physical to the virtual. The voice in the phone seems to bubble with energy, but frustration actually bursting in the heart, all the while wishing the other side would just shut up. A smiley sticker when you feel it a sheer waste of time to chat with this not so resourceful person.
Social networks reek of it and, not surprisingly, thrive on it! I am no exception. A new entrant into the world of social networks, I was told you must achieve maximum hits to your post to flaunt your concepts, ideas. You don’t have to read the posts or understand the message. It’s a pure game of numbers. So how does one play this game to achieve maximum ‘hits’ or ‘Likes’ as they call it? I figured out that it works on grounds similar to, ‘you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours’. This of course excludes those who read and understand what they ‘Like’ before they do it. So we go about ‘Liking’ someone’s post just so we could get them to ‘Like’ ours and the number game goes on. Often, the actual reading is substituted with analyzing the worth of the source and the mind calculating the returns of ‘Liking’ a post. It’s quite funny how it works.
Long before I realised, I found myself striving to be in the best of my elements with those who could add value or simply ‘Like’ my posts; and to everyone else, I ended up sticking out smileys. I did not realise the ‘plasticity’ of my smileys till I was at the receiving end. It rained on me. Moment of truth sorts. I am not talking about the smileys that purely expressed the heart. There are the genuine ones as well. But a little discernment starkly exposes the plastic from the genuine. It was a good experience for me though to see where I stood. And then I smiled at my ‘self’. No plasticity this time!
I am not quite sure about the number game, but can vouch for what the heart speaks. I call it the ‘heart language’. This can be heard, felt across borders, media, ages, circumstances, happiness, sickness, pressures, victory, hopelessness, abundance, nothingness, etc. It has the power to speak through silence. It does not seek publicity nor craves attention. It is patient, not jumping into the fray of being the first one to do something or show having done it. It means what it says or does. It does not strive to be seen with the powerful or the numero uno. It seeks to be genuine and truthful. (hmmn…feels like I Corinthians 13!) This language is so strong that it can quietly nurture relationships between unknown personalities from different backgrounds, languages, communities, countries, etc. This language is not double sided. It operates on the basic principle of ‘what you see is what you get’. In other words, it cannot lie despite the carrier’s mood swings. Good or bad is dished out as is. A unique learning for me in this area is when I got to see in action what the greatest Man ever on earth said, ‘For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks’ (Mathew 12:34, Luke 6:45). I believe actions are included as well.
So, what do I do when I don’t ‘Like’ an author but love the article; vice a versa is even more dangerous. Should I just move on? Or should I vent my emotions or simply ‘Like’ a post even if it means nothing to me? Room for more frenemies…not a good solution. I can do one thing. I can ask Christ (the greatest Man ever and my God) to fill my heart with His wholesomeness, God’s Word. This will take care of my emotions at heart and then what comes out will be genuine! I will then be able to read, understand and ‘Like’ what He likes and actually mean it too. 🙂