Fine-tuning our Image (continued from last blogpost)

Whose opinion do I value most?   This is a question I asked at a retreat last month.  It’s been many years since I was challenged personally by Ed Welch’s book When People are Big and God is Small.  It was life-changing.  According to Welch:

….  fear of man is such a part of our human fabric that we should check for a pulse if someone denies it.  Edward T. Welch, When People are Big and God is Small (Phillipsburg, NJ):  P&R Publishing, 1997), p. 17.

As I mentioned in my last post, it’s not the device or the forum that’s the problem.  It’s what our hearts do with it.  Image tweaking on FB is our chance to look good—contemporary, intellectual, spiritual, witty, hip, popular.  Once we’ve crafted our page, we hit “Post” and wait for affirmation.  Ultimately, we want to control the impressions others form of us.  We have the ability to project a carefully-edited image through FB quips and word-smithed electronic messages.

Dr. Turkle in Alone Together  explains:  “Face to face conversation is hard.  An apology is hard.  Think about how hard it is to really apologize, and how easy it is to type, ‘I’m sry.’ And hit ‘send.’ ….What people want is a much more superficial connection.”  And why is that?  We can protect ourselves.  People won’t know us warts and all.  They’ll only know what we allow.  We are less vulnerable behind a screen and a keyboard, a safe little hand-held device to only allow a small peek into our lives.  Spontaneous face-to-face conversation becomes too risky. We might say something dumb, insensitive, naive.  The notion of trust is being challenged and often tossed from relationships. It is no small wonder more and more people are diagnosed with anxieties/phobias when it comes to relating to real live people.

Where are we looking for our sense of worth?  In my book, I made Confession #1 – I care too much what people think of me.  Why?  It’s universal.  None of us escapes the “fear of man”.  Like so many situations, Facebook and other social media raise the question “Whose approval do we seek?”

Do you believe what the Bible says?  God created us specifically us.  The God of this universe made us and loved us enough to die for us, and He has spelled out His will for our lives in His word.  And His will is for our best.  Nothing could give us more worth or security.  Proverbs 9:10 says, “Fear of the Lord is the foundation of wisdom.  Knowledge of the Holy One results in good judgment.” Compare that to what the fear of man does for you.

Jesus had one goal every day He lived here on earth with us—to do His Father’s will.  He feared no one. He was totally secure in His role and it’s what gave Him perfect love of others.  Loving others frees us from the god of self.

Next time:  Taking a long look at home






  1. Carol Robbins says:

    Well put. We have to guard ourselves from these temptations on FB and in person! It’s fun to have a lot of likes on our posts and comments, but it’s becoming clear what we are becoming. I saw a girl walking down the street yesterday, phone held out at arms length and smiling big smiles. Comical and sad.