TO KNOW AND BE KNOWN
When was the last time you had a song stuck in your head that you couldn’t quit singing?
No matter what you did, you couldn’t change the channel. This happened to me recently, so I turned to the internet to search for a home remedy. One article guaranteed that chewing gum would make the song miraculously disappear. I was so excited when I read this that I grabbed my purse and pulled out not one, but two pieces of gum to increase my odds for success. Unfortunately, the only thing I increased was my ability to annoy everyone within earshot. I promise, smacking on gum while repeatedly screeching out a jingle will not win friends or influence others—and it didn’t even make the song go away!
Since the song was here to stay, I decided to think about the lyrics:
“Sometimes you want to go
Where everybody knows your name
And they're always glad you came…”[i]
“Where Everybody Knows Your Name” was the theme song from the 1980s television sitcom Cheers. To highlight the truth of the title, every time one of the characters walked through the doors of the neighborhood pub, he was happily greeted with a unanimous, “Norm!”
Everybody knew his name.
If you want to see someone’s eyes light up, just call them by their name—especially when they don’t expect it. It’s like music to their ears! I make an effort to thank the checker at the grocery store by name and they always seem surprised and happy that I took the time to acknowledge them. I even found a verse in the Bible to back this up: 3 John 1:15 says, “ …Greet the friends by name.”
People love hearing their name because we all desire to know and be known.
With the advent of social media, the need for relationship, validation, and approval from others has never been so visually apparent. Unfortunately, many people make the mistake of calculating their value and worth as a human being on their online reputation—how many friends, followers, likes, retweets, and comments (the list goes on!) they can collect. The sense of self-fulfillment they seek never arrives, so they chase higher and higher numbers. I’ve read far too many news pieces of people falling to their deaths just to get the perfect Instagram shot to post online. People are dying to be seen.
Social media is a powerful tool. Like the name suggests, it’s a social activity–and we are social creatures. We want others to know us and approve of us. I recently heard about a 104-year-old woman who was asked the best thing about being her age. She replied, “No peer pressure!”
We’re created in God’s image and He is relational, so we too are relational to the core. We were created to need both Him and each other to be happy and thrive. Doubt and insecurity occur when we get the order backwards. Our first priority should be to know God and be known by God. If we look to Him first, our relationships with others have ample space to flourish because we no longer need our peers’ validation. To have lasting peace, confidence, and joy, we need to look to God alone. No amount of worldly success or social media popularity can come close to the indescribable gift of knowing God and being known by Him.
POINT TO PONDER:
Knowing of someone is different than knowing them personally. You can have hundreds of social media “friends” that you know of, but your true friends are the ones you know on a personal—and more honest—level. The more time and attention we give to one another, the closer our relationship will be. This applies to our relationship with Jesus as well: when we seek Him first, everything else falls into place.
[i]Songwriters: / Judy Hart
Cheers lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC