Escaping the Bondage of Faux Acceptance

Before you read this post, click here to watch a humorous two-minute video, which will serve as our springboard.

We watch a video like this and get a little chuckle because we know it’s true. We all succumb to the temptation of making ourselves look better than we are, and social media is the perfect platform for our narcissistic tendencies. We are able to simultaneously “share” with hundreds of “friends” while filtering each word and staging each picture to our liking. We are able to present our picture-perfect world to all our “friends” and be the envy of all who see.

We watch a video like this and laugh, but we open the Facebook app on our phones and start scrolling through our “friends’” posts, and we no longer laugh. Deep down we know that what we’re seeing is a finely tuned performance that has been edited to perfection, but the feelings of shame, inferiority, inadequacy, envy, loneliness, and a host of other emotions flood our hearts.

  • They just look so happy, and I’m so miserable.
  • They’re so spiritual, and I’m not.
  • Their house is so nice, and mine isn’t.
  • Everything seems to go their way, and nothing seems to go right in my life.
  • Everything they touch turns to gold, and everything I touch falls apart.

We see these “Facebook lives” and think:

  • He is always posting all the great ways God is using him; he would not be the kind of person who would accept a broken person like me.
  • She just really enjoys her children; I could never share the struggles I face with enjoying my children.
  • He posts all the time about how God spoke to him during his quiet time with the Lord; he would never understand if I approached him about my struggle to be consistent in that area.
  • She has so many friends; she wouldn’t have time for me.

Honestly, who hasn’t been guilty of posting something on Facebook and checking 30 times a day to see how many likes we got? Why is that so important to us? Because deep down we have an innate sense of needing to be accepted. But, as I mentioned in my last post, we have seen how cruel people can be, so we share safely, and we share things that we know are acceptable. Unfortunately, when you share these edited, picture-perfect “Facebook life” posts, you are inadvertently building walls around yourself, and those walls are preventing others from approaching you (though your goal is to feel accepted, you are forcing out the people who would accept you just the way you are). What ends up happening is we get caught in a vicious cycle of empty acceptance never finding fulfillment.

Please don’t misunderstand me; I am not implying that everything we post on social media should expose our weaknesses and failures. We want to share the joys of life with the people we love, but unfortunately, it is being used to feed our egos at the cost of genuine relationships. I definitely believe social media can be used to have a very positive impact on society when used properly.

A few weeks ago I was reading How People Grow, and I came across a portion that stopped me in my tracks. I have recently been burdened about the importance and even necessity of friends, and I came across something that was life-changing. In Genesis 2:18 we read God’s Words, “It is not good that the man should be alone…” (ESV). Henry Cloud makes this insightful observation, “Adam depended on a relationship with God for life. But even with that relationship, he needed human connection as well…Man was incomplete with God alone. So we see at the outset that relationship was at the core of the way things were created.”(Emphasis added)[i]

Honestly, why would anyone want to share real life on a stage that lets you decide what people can see? Why let people get close enough to see the imperfections, when we have the power to keep them distant enough to prevent their exposure? Why settle for having a handful of close friends with whom I can be open and honest about anything, when I can have hundreds of “friends” who will marvel at my greatness? Why take a chance at the vulnerability of real relationships, when I can settle for faux relationships that allow me to be whoever I want people to see? Why? Because we need each other. We need real connection with real people.

The body of Christ does not just exist to attend church services. The body of Christ is needed for the growth of believers. We are not here to lambast sinners, kick the wounded, dishearten the weak, and criticize the failing, but in the words of Paul, “Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love,” (Ephesians 4:15-16). (Emphasis added)

I challenge you to take a chance, and tear down the walls you have built. Allow yourself to be real, vulnerable, and accessible, and value real relationships. And God will bless you in your journey of growth.

[i] Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend, How People Grow (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2001), p. 29.

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