I was recently asked by someone this question: “Is a selfie o.k. to do as a Christian?” Interesting question, especially coming from a teen who is not my own. Yet, what an open door opportunity to share and shed some truth on what has become an incredible fascination.
Not sure if you knew this: “selfie” was Oxford Dictionary’s Word of the Year for 2013. According to language research, use of the word “selfie” increased by 17,000% from 2012 to 2013. But no one needs research, sociologists, language specialists, or pastors to affirm the huge surge in the trend. Social media outlets verify it instantaneously: Twitter; Facebook; Instagram are covered with hundreds of millions of “selfies.”
In a December 2013 article published by Christianity Today, the title was this: “Would Jesus Take a Selfie?” Good question. Reminds me of the popular question from years ago that was abbreviated and slapped on bumper-stickers, bracelets, buttons, and pins: WWJD?
The article in Christianity Today is a good read. It asks many questions that some don’t want to answer. It digs deep to the heart of the selfie and some of the narcissism that really exists behind it. Here is one excerpt that relates the online/social media obsession with the selfie: “We are able to create a perfectly crafted persona online, which may or may not bear resemblance to our real-life selves. We adjust what we post to give the impression that we are constantly having the most glamorous and exciting time of our lives, while concealing the parts of life that don’t quite fit in with our own fabricated version of ideal. The selfie is just the tip of the iceberg.”
I suppose after looking at much social media research in the past 3 years or so, that the real question for us, as Christians, is this: Is the virtual me better than the real me? If the answer to that is “yes” or “probably” – there is a problem that we should allow the Lord to dig deep into. It seems that what the selfie lacks is the internal snapshot of the heart and life. While everything in cyber land may appear to be o.k. and just fine – the most crucial and important thing, to God, is how we are on the inside. It’s not about the virtual, the appearance, the facade of the exterior. It is about what, and more importantly, Who, is dwelling in us.
The Lord said to Samuel, who was at Jesse’s place to find and anoint the next King of Israel, this instruction: “Do not look at his appearance or the height of his stature……for the Lord sees not as man sees; man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart” (1 Samuel 16, v.7). May we be a people who seek to be an open book to God, desiring above all things to give Him priority.
Here is an article I bookmarked a while back: http://www.foxbusiness.com/personal-finance/2013/04/26/social-media-addiction-study/ I wasn’t really sure why I saved it at the time, but it became clear yesterday when He planted this in me. I want to encourage you to glean it, even for just a few moments. While it may not speak to everyone; it will most definitely speak to some. Sure, social media can be used for good, for connection, to stay informed. But addiction or obsession is not healthy. And it surely cannot be or become an idol. That is clearly not God’s will.
May we be a people who reflect ourselves less, and the Lord Jesus more, in all that we say and do. Joy and blessings,