How We See Ourselves

Over the weekend, my Facebook page was flooded with the latest craze. People have been creating avatars of themselves. I can remember being amazed at the little animated paperclip when I first started using Windows software years ago, and now people are creating small animated pictures of themselves that they can share online. The world of communication has profoundly changed.

The first thing I noticed was how most of the avatars that I saw looked nothing like that person. Some of that is the limits of technology as you draw upon basic shapes and styles to capture our individual characteristics. The other side of the issue is the limits of our brain as we do not always realistically see ourselves. We are thinner, taller, have better hair, and the rest of our features seem more like an improved version of ourselves.

I do realize that some of this is the nature of social media. We always post the best version of ourselves in that world. That is not the only issue. Everyone tends to see ourselves as better than others see us. This is true both physically and often spiritually. We see ourselves as great parents, spouses, workers, and even Christians. Our picture of ourselves contains love, kindness, and goodness to overflowing. We have a close relationship with Jesus and follow his every word. We are good people.

The looming question: Is that reality or merely a figment of our imagination?

I guess your answer depends on who we compare ourselves too. If we look at the other parents at school or our next-door neighbor, we can come off looking surprisingly good.

We need to be clear, the standard for our righteousness is not each other, but the life of Jesus. When we do this, we begin to see our flaws vividly. We also see our need for a savior. As long as we compare ourselves to one another, we can feel pretty good about ourselves, and we no longer need Jesus. We create avatars that look good but have no connection to reality.

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