A Picture’s Worth a Thousand Words

What's up with pictures this week? Incriminating pictures released to the wrong people don't do anybody any good–not Miss California and not America.

We warn our teens not to take pictures of questionable behavior and put them on the Internet for fear of ramifications. Yet as a country, some would have us release inflammatory pictures of our U.S. troops calling their behaviors into question by the world. Their reason? Transparency and trustworthiness.

Supporters of releasing the photos say it shows our new president to be true to his word, as he promised transparency of all information. Apparently, these factions believe the president's word is more important than our soldier's lives.

Taking a position on this controversy seems easy to most. According to Thursday night's “O'Reilly Factor“, 77% of Americans believe the photos would cause a backlash against U.S. troops.

But my broader concern is about what's going on long before someone grabs a camera. Who or what is guiding our choices about our daily behavior before pictures are snapped? I don't just want to teach teens not to post lewd pictures. I don't just want to teach teens not to take pictures of lewd behavior either. I want to teach them not to engage in it in the first place!

As I wrote earlier this week, traps are messy and they usually begin with choosing to do something that doesn't seem so bad at the time. But if something doesn't seem so bad, we are looking at it as compared to other bad things! What should that tell us? Assuredly, anytime we take that “not so bad step”, we will soon find ourselves in cover-ups, contradictions, confusion and controversy.

Granted, there is a difference in No. 9 on God's “top 10 list” and telling everything you know. Some things we just don't want to advertise, like your next football play to the opposing team's defensive line. It doesn't make the football play immoral or unbiblical. But more often than not, the things we want to keep hidden in the dark are things created in the dark to begin with.

Whether waterboarding is more like lewd behavior or a great football play, I honestly haven't decided. Fortunately I'm not in a position to have to decide tomorrow. But it is a matter of which I am seeking God's perspective.

I have spent time in dark places in the past, and try my best to stay away from them now, remembering the words of Jesus: “He who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life” (John 8:12). When we have the Light of life, why in the world would we want to hang out in dark places?

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  1. This is good advice, too, in the direction of not plastering your entire life on your Facebook page. The concept of TMI is still worth observing.

    May 15, 2009
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