I can’t take it anymore. I want to simultaneously gouge my eyes out and throw my computer out the window of a moving car. Every time I get on the Internet, I am relentlessly shelled by clickbait headlines. If you are a monk, or one of those weirdos who lives in the woods with no power and no plumbing, and don’t know what a clickbait headline is, let me provide you some examples:
1) A young boy asked her why she couldn’t walk. The way she responded left me in tears.
2) He put his head inside the mouth of an alligator. What happened next will shock you.
3) By the 3:00 minute mark of this video, I was shaking my head in wonder.
Clickbait headlines are absurdly sensationalized headlines designed to suck us in.
And they are killing us.
Why are they killing us? Because if everything is amazing, then nothing is amazing.
As Christians, we traffic in the astonishing, the beautiful, the glorious. The heart of our faith is God becoming man, the God-man being crucified, the God-man conquering death, and the God-man coming again. We believe in a virgin birth, water transformed into wine, and lepers being made clean. We believe in bodies that will be resurrected, an earth that will be renewed, and joy inexpressible. We believe in lions laying down with lambs and a dragon being thrown into the Lake of Fire.
The story of the Bible truly is amazing, faith-building, encouraging, astonishing, and beautiful. If anything deserves my open-mouthed awe, it is the gospel of Jesus Christ. When I sing, “Praise God from whom all blessings flow,” my hands and my heart should respond with appropriate gratitude, awe, and joy.
Clickbait headlines are like buffets: they constantly over promise and under deliver. The “amazing” response is run of the mill, the “shocking” development is mildly amusing at best. I click the headline, wait for the payoff, and come away disappointed. To paraphrase Dash, from The Incredibles, if everything is special, than nothing is.
The more clickbait headlines I read, the more I become suspicious of any claims of glory. My heart becomes calloused to beauty and wonder and mystery. The more time I spend wading through the shallows of Facebook, the more I forget about the deeps of the gospel. The Internet has a way of dulling beauty down to the lowest common denominator.
So what am I to do? Should I avoid the Internet out of fear of clickbait headlines? I don’t think so. But I do want to constantly be calling my heart back to the wonder of Jesus. Back to the splendor of the gospel. Back to the beauty of the God who created beauty. I want to be ask God to guard me from the dulling influence of the world. I want to plead with God to freshly stir up my calloused heart. I want to be exposing my dull heart to the true beauties of Jesus Christ and him crucified.
As Charles Spurgeon said: