Instagram is not enough!

By Dave Henning / March 26, 2023

“The human condition needs a spiritual covering.  We cannot bear to have people get an unfiltered, out-of-our-control look at who we really are.  We are not proud of who we are ‘in the raw’, and so we desperately look for ways to cover up and to create a flawless image.  But Instagram is not enough!”- Timothy Keller

“The eyes of both of them were opened, and the realized they were naked; so the sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.”- Genesis 3:7 (NIV)

In Chapter 8 (“Our Need for Forgiveness”) of Forgive, Timothy Keller stresses that the first irreplaceable dimension of forgiveness involves recognizing both our need for and reception of forgiveness from God.  Furthermore, our experience of God’s forgiveness provides a uniquely powerful motivation for extending it to others.  It also provides an instructive pattern.

Above all, faith in Jesus Christ and His gospel helps us understand our profound, ineradicable need for God to remove our guilt and shame.  In addition, faith gives resources available only to believers.  Certainly, those resources enable us to receive forgiveness as well as extend it to others.

However, Wilfred McClay underscores in ‘The Strange Persistence of Guilt’, secular society finds itself unable to shed guilt and shame.  Even though our society has relativized the concept of moral truth.  As a result, McClay notes, secular people strangely feel like sinners- without possessing a name for it.  Thus, our new reverse shame-and-honor culture serves as a response to this unnamed need.

Hence, Mc Clay explains, this:

” . . . new moral economy . . . is not something as simple as hypocrisy that we are seeing.  Instead, it is a story of people working out their [self-] salvation in fear and trembling.”

Because secular culture seeks a new solution to the problem of guilt apart from God and confession.  To omit God from the equation only makes things worse.  Yet, a voice in us makes us ashamed that we’re not living up.  Therefore, we resort to fig leaves.

Today’s question: Do you see Instagram as a way to deal with a lack of spiritual covering?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “Fig leaves – desperate efforts”

About the author

Dave Henning

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