Snapchat and Grace
by Travis Bookout
Snapchat: Used and Abused
Ah, good ol’ Snapchat. The cause of a tremendous amount of problems in the world. Yet, still an app that I play with probably way more than any adult should. To any who might not know, Snapchat is an app that allows you to take and send pictures to your friends. Those pictures can be set to exist from 1-10 seconds before they vanish forever. (At least that’s the idea, there have been hackers able to recover some of these pics and there is always the option to screenshot).
Normally when taking a picture, you worry about getting the right angle, making sure every hair is in place, and your eyes are big and beautiful. But when you know the picture you are sending won’t exist forever, you’re a little less anal about how you look. Your friend can see that bad angle or goofy face, if only for a few seconds. However, if that picture were plastered all across Times Square for years to come, you’d probably be more concerned about those crossed eyes and double, triple, quadruple chins.
Sadly, what has often happened is people have taken advantage of the disappearing picture. Instead of having more confidence and less vanity about every detail, they send pictures that no one should see. Immodest, seductive, and naked photos have spread across Snapchat like wild fire. After all, if the picture is gone, so are the consequences.
Abuse of Grace
This is not only a problem with snapchat, but this mindset permeates in many other areas of life. Remarkably, it even spreads to the topic of God’s grace. God’s grace is a marvelous gift. It takes the ugly parts of our life and erases them before God. Our sins, like our double chins, are vanished forever! This should give us tremendous confidence before God. But as always, there are those who seek to abuse the grace of God.
Paul warned against this attitude when he wrote, “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? May it never be!” (Romans 6:1, 2). There are those that think that since they have God’s grace, avoiding sin is less important. Some will even sin more simply because they “trust” in God’s grace. Talk about missing the point!
Afraid of Grace:
Not only has God’s grace been abused by those who use it as an excuse to sin more or be less careful with God’s word, but this has had terrible effects on the way others view grace. The flip side of abusing grace is being afraid of it. “If I tell someone that they remain saved and forgiven in spite of their sins and failures, it will just encourage them to sin more. Ergo, I need to make sure they know that they can lose God’s grace, and that grace has conditions and limits!”
Divided by Grace:
All of the sudden, you have some brethren who abuse grace and use it as an excuse to engage in unbiblical ideas and practices. Then you have other brethren who neglect to teach about grace, or at least put it so far out of reach that you feel you must be perfect to attain it. Both of these attitudes are egregious. Grace, what should have been considered among the greatest blessings God has given mankind, has been abused, belittled, and used as a source of division. And Satan giggles to himself.
What to do with Grace:
Snapchat can be a lot of fun. You can take goofy, funny pictures. You can use your finger to draw on those pictures. I have drawn myself as Aladdin, Iron Man, Captain America, Darkwing Duck, a gangster, a hipster, and a man with thick hair. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be abused. Grace is incredible. To know that every flaw, failure, and defect in my life has vanished before God is cause for great joy. The confidence that in spite of myself, I stand assured of my salvation is what gives me the strength to continue in this Christian life. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be abused.
Don’t see grace as ticket to sin without consequences. Don’t think that grace in any way is opposed strict adherence and obedience to God’s will. If you love God, why would you?
Don’t be so afraid of people misusing grace that you hide it under a bushel. Don’t fear that a grace centered theology will cause more harm than good. If you believe God, why would you?
Allow grace to give you confidence. To help you through times of struggle and doubt. To encourage you when you fail. To humble you when you’re proud. To change your life from top to bottom. To give you reason to love and obey. To give you reason to worship and praise. Grace be with you all!