The Sacredness Lost in the Post
The “quiet time” picture post. It’s a new phenomenon popping up these days as one scrolls through Instagram and Facebook. The typical scene is a Bible sitting next to a coffee mug – captioned with some profound words of inspiration. While I do believe that many people who post such things have sincere hearts, I also feel that something sacred has been lost every time I see one.
God calls himself our Lover (Hosea 2:14-23). One of the defining attributes of lovers is their exclusivity – their sharing of intimacy that is only between the two of them. God beckons each of us to this kind of love affair with him. In the quiet, when we’re one on one, he speaks tender mercies over us and reveals more and more of himself as intimacy grows. He meets us in the secret place, and we encounter his heart.
To capture this mystery in a picture is impossible. And the attempt to do so is an exploitation. It reduces the inner chambers of his presence to an Instagram post that is trying so very hard to get “likes.” The Spirit doesn’t need anyone’s “likes.” He is God. He cannot and will not be reduced to an attempt for man’s approval.
So instead of getting sucked into the whirlwind of non-discretionary posting, maybe we should slow down and evaluate ourselves. Are we more concerned with our trendy, spiritual post or with actually encountering the Living God? Are we seeking his voice or are we straining to gain the accolades and attention of people?
When something is real, it does not have to “prove” or “justify” itself. Nor does it need to be validated by the recognition of others.
Our time with God is not the only thing social media has attempted to cheapen. The same kind of exploitation is happening in marriage relationships. It seems, judging from the “news feed,” that a date is not a date unless it’s captured on camera and then posted on social media (with some trendy caption, of course). I’m all for the occasional romantic post – but does the world need to know about every outing we go on as a couple? Can a moment ever be just for the two of us? Can I ever just enjoy my spouse in the moment, without brainstorming for cute captions and poses? Hearing his laugh, watching her eyes… sharing an unadulterated experience of love. Isn’t that a much better gift?
And what about honeymoons? Since when did we start owing the public our honeymoon pictures? And not just general honeymoon pictures, but pictures showing THE BED we slept in on our honeymoon. This phenomenon stuns me to no end, especially when couples who have saved themselves for marriage post such things. Why do you want to invite other people into your honeymoon chambers? That’s one of the most sacred things a couple shares. Yet with the click of a button… the sacredness vanishes.
I see the same kind of endless posting with parents and children. Again, I think parent-child posts are adorable… when done with discretion. But when a parent can’t even go to the park with his/her child without making it public, something has gone awry. Time with children can be sacred just like time with a spouse. Being in the moment and cherishing your child’s presence is a much greater gift than measuring that moment by how many “likes” it gets.
I’m not suggesting that we abandon posting altogether. [Anyone who knows me knows I love pictures.] I’m simply offering discretion as a novel way to filter our posting. Let’s choose to keep some things sacred by keeping them between us and God, between us and our spouse, between us and our children. The most beautiful moments of our lives usually happen when there’s no audience.