In our selfie-crazed world, oh how we love a good filter. Filters are no longer limited to graphic artists and professional photographers…our smartphone cameras have a whole host of options. Not to mention, easy-to-use apps that can touch up and recolor. I have a lot of graphics apps downloaded to my phone, so I can make social media images. Thus, I tend to get bombarded with advertising for other apps on Facebook…
One such advertised app is pretty disturbing. The app’s promotion of a person’s image demonstrates extensive filtering, editing, and reshaping, which boils down to extreme digital plastic surgery. At the end, there’s only a trace resemblance to the original photo. And with these altered images, the person who uses the app can post these pseudo-realistic photos of themselves for the world to see…and in the process hope that the filters have masked what they want to hide and any imperfections they want to erase. They’ve filtered out the truth of who they are.
It begs the question—what filters are you using? When we try to walk around filtering our looks, filtering our experiences and relationships as compared to the “perfection” we see on Instagram and Facebook…it’s all an illusion. We feel like we have to filter the realness of who we are and what we believe in order to keep up with the altered standards set by the world. And sure, while my current headshot has been edited, my talented photographer (Melinda Lamm of “Photo Artistry by Melinda”!) works hard to highlight who I am naturally. She knows I don’t wear makeup, so she doesn’t try to add it. Her edits boil down to color correction and making sure flyaway hairs are smoothed down. I admit that every now and then, I’ve asked her to edit about 30 lbs. away, but the images she’s done that with—well, I’m never happy with them. Because they aren’t truth. Those 30 lbs. are going to have to come off the old-fashioned way and only then will I be able to see those photos and be pleased.
I’m not wholly against filters when it comes to photography, but the real meat and potatoes of this post are about the filters of life. The filters of who we are as Christians and what we believe.
The Bible, as the authentic Word of God, is truly the only filter we need. While we’re tempted to filter morals and issues by the world’s standards, the only true filter is to run those standards of who we are, as well as morals and issues, through what God has to say on the subject. And by filtering, I mean true study of the Word and the context. We can’t just randomly take words and twist them to our purpose. We have to contextually keep God’s word true to what He means, not what we want Him to mean. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 states, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”Notice that it says, “every good work.”
There is literally no topic that cannot be handled through the filter of God’s word. While some issues may not be directly addressed in Scripture, God can show us answers on any topic through prayer and study. It may make us unpopular. That’s okay. Some may look at us and wonder, “Why does she act like that? It’s weird.” That’s okay, too. The world’s opinion of us as Christians doesn’t matter. The world may judge us as weird, but it’s not their judgment that matters in the end. And as many have said, and I raise my hand in agreement—“I would rather stand with God and be judged by the world than stand with the world and be judged by God.”
And standing in the truth of God’s word requires the filter of His truth. A filter that runs red with the blood of Jesus Christ, but makes every image white as snow. Because His filter of truth brings with it grace, mercy, and wholeness. It brings restoration and makes us new. And that filter brings out the greatest beauty that we can’t even begin to put into words—but it can also bring anyone to their knees in gratitude. It’s the very filter that will one day bring this verse to reality—“so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father”(Philippians 2:10-11).