This month, I’m going to take a bit of a departure from my normal format for this column. I have recently been pondering the popularity of certain hashtags. In June, I did a search and learned that the most popular hashtag on Instagram is #love. Before I could act on this newfound information, we had an eventful news day on June 14, 2017. This unfortunate day included an attack on the GOP baseball team by a gunman in Virginia, as well as a shooting at a UPS facility in San Francisco, California. These headlines, coupled with the info on #love, prompted me to write a prayer prompt for My Grace-Full Life’s blog the following day.
PRAYER PROMPT ••• The most popular hashtag on Instagram is #love. With #love representing 1,085,986,510 posts as I write this (that’s Billon. With a “B”), it’s clear our world is looking for love. But look at our news headlines yesterday. Two shootings. Then consider the events that didn’t make national news. Murder. Theft. Rape. Rampant in our communities. For a world desperate for love, we sure live in a lot of hate. Let’s talk about hashtags again… #God totals 23,684,598. #Jesus totals 16,004,648. #HolySpirit totals 1,321,698. Our hashtag inventory is seriously out of whack. As a general rule, I try not to draw assumptions, but if over a billion people are looking for love, yet God only gets 23 million mentions, it seems the world is looking for love in all the wrong places. #John3:16, one of the most well-known verses in the Bible is hashtagged 105,241 times. Maybe if this number were multiplied 10,000 times or so, we’d see a world which not only craved love but loved it, too. Because the truth is, God IS love. The very definition of it. If you landed on this post because you were in search of #love, please read not only John 3:16, but 1 John 4:8, “Anyone who does not love, does not know God, because God is love.” There is a true love waiting to be accepted. Today, as you pray, ask God to make you a light of His love. Ask Him to help you boldly share it with those who are in desperate need for it. (Published on June 15, 2017).
Now—I am, if nothing else, a data nerd. So, please bear with me.
|Hashtag||# of References per Date||Total Growth in a 10-Day Period|
Staggering. #Love grows at a rapid pace, but can you imagine if the hashtags for #God, #Jesus, and #HolySpirit had over six million mentions in a ten day period?
Lest you say, “Love can mean many things! Maybe someone wrote that they #love ice cream. Or they #love going to the beach.” There’s truth to that argument, no denying it. However, of the top-100 most popular hashtags, there is no mention of God, Jesus, or the Holy Spirit. Nothing. No derivative of any of them.
And that breaks my heart.
Because what it says is that to the world, God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit do not have a place among the most-talked-about conversation themes that are trending in today’s world. And we are in dire need of them. We need them to be a strong presence. But they are distinctly absent.
Social media isn’t going away; it’s a powerful force and a strong communication tool. As Christians, the power of social media can equip us to reach people around the world. Jesus said in Matthew 24:14, “And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”
Some are reluctant. The emotional fear of stepping out in faith is real, because so many make assumptions of what Christianity means. And in fairness, there have been people who have done horrible things in the name of Christ, but that’s not what Christianity is. As followers of Christ, we are to love everyone. And the greatest love we can give is sharing the Gospel.
And in the sharing of the Gospel, there we will show the world the one true #love.