What's a picture worth?

February 27th, 2019

It’s often said that a picture is worth a thousand words. And while that may be true, the thousand words chosen are never the same between two beholders. Recently, two photos quickly gained public attention. The first picture was of Nick Sandmann, a young man attending the Right to Life Rally, who appeared smug and defiant while standing in the face of Nathan Phillips, a Native American participating in the Indigenous Peoples March on the same day. A picture immediately went viral on social media sites, and the majority of responders condemned the boy, describing him as appearing entitled.

When does a moment define a lifetime?

A few days later the young man responded in a public letter alleging that he and his friends were the ones initially being mocked by a third group and that he was the one who actually had been approached by the Native American.

As the days passed, Nathan Phillips confirmed that a group identifying themselves as Black Hebrew Israelites had initiated taunts and vulgarity toward the teens. A Pawnee man handed Nathan a drum, and Nathan felt compelled to sing a prayer, intending to pass through the two groups and then return to his own. His progress was stopped by Nick, who was attempting to diffuse things by simply standing still. The viral still frame captured at this moment ignited an online backlash from people believing it represented a “Make America Great Again” hat staring down a displaced American culture — though both Nick and Phillip would say that conflict wasn’t the context of that moment. The power of the image was a reminder that deep racial tensions continue to exist in our country, but the denizens of the internet brought all of that emotionality to bear on the two individuals in the photo without seeking the details behind it.

Few of us will ever face such a snapshot moment — but, if we do, we can be grateful we serve a God who looks beyond the snapshots of our lives and knows the whole picture.

Question of the day: What are three words that define your image?
Focal scriptures: Matthew 13:53-57; Acts 9:26-28; Philippians 3:3-11

For a complete lesson on this topic visit LinC.

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