Have you ever had to get a parking pass validated? It seems you never can find anyone working when you need it, but without that stamp, you can’t prove you were ever in the building.

I’m a notary public, and it’s funny that the entire value of my signature and stamp is to validate that the person who signs the paper in front of me is the person signing the paper in front of me. Their signature is not accepted for an official document without my stamp of validation.

Validation is important, not just for avoiding parking costs and signing papers, but for life. It’s not something we can give ourselves, but not for lack of trying.

Just look at the selfie craze (I hope I can say in another ten years that it was just a craze). People take constant pictures of themselves, pursed lips and all, just to be seen. “Will somebody please like my picture?” That thumbs up is like my notary stamp. I’m validating you by acknowledging your presence on my Facebook page, which is the main reason I stopped liking most posts.

What did we ever do before social media? How did anyone have any sense of belonging in this world? Now we’re obsessed with it and lost without it.

I have a couple of ideas why.

We’ve lost the family unit. Whether one or two parent homes, children are no longer receiving the recognition and validation they long for from what should be their primary source of belonging. Parents have become disengaged and distracted from their children. They’re trusting friends and teachers to give what only they are qualified to give — love and validity.

When kids search for it in all the wrong places, they find, not unconditional love, but conditional, based on looks, wealth, grades and behavior. It may fill them for a while, but all too soon, they’re trying harder and harder to meet the unrealistic conditions placed on them by society.

Parents should always be the primary source of our validation as children and adults.

The second reason people are reaching out to total strangers on the internet or acting out in ever-more drastic ways is because we’ve lost our spiritual foundation in society. An amoral society leads to the inability of its members to find a moral center for any of their aspirations or worth. When we deny that all men are created in the image of God, we lose our dignity and validity as a human race.

It’s then no coincidence that more and more people are using Facebook Live to film criminal activity.

Where does your validation come from? It can’t be from yourself, so is it from God or the world? I pray you choose the source who saw your value as so great that out of his love for you, he gave his son to save you from your sin and grant you eternal life. That’s the validation I choose.

Grace and Peace

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