Selfie. Nearly everyone knows what it means.
Oxford Dictionary declares a word of the year each year and the one for 2013 is selfie. It won without any argument.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, Americans have said millions of words about themselves. The height of vanity is the constant self photo broadcast by so very many.
If an artist painted mostly himself, we would declare him narcissistic. There wouldn’t be a debate about it, even if his work was beautiful. Even if they were masterpieces.
If everyone with camera capabilities checked their phone’s photo folder or their Facebook timeline, most would find that an incredibly high number, if not the majority, of the photos were of themselves.
It doesn’t really matter if it’s themselves with their cat, their cup, or their couch.
If the consistent image is their own face, I have to argue that the artist has spoken through his works. A vanity problem has reared its ugly head. Or very pretty head, as the case may be.
If my teenager was posting selfies (or usies) of herself (or himself) each day on Facebook, my heart would be heavy in concern for her heart. Yet, I see grown women and men doing it seemingly without thinking twice.
To say that our culture’s word of the year is selfie is to say a lot.
As humans, we are not immune to the pull of self-absorption and vanity.
As Christians, we need to resist both.
Scripture tells us we are to be clothed in humility (Ephesians 3:12, I Peter 5:5) as those called to Christ.
Don’t get me wrong, I certainly understand wanting to capture moments, to savor in photo form. Of course we should do so. It’s a real perk of the invention of the camera and especially the phone camera. Click away. Be in the photos!
And I understand feeling pretty and wanting to savor that feeling. Selfies are usually quite complimentary and much better than photos others take of us. I completely understand wanting public photos to be good, so selfies allow that. Makes sense.
I also understand that many moms stay out of the picture too much. To never be in photos is the flip side of the selfie. Pride in a different form (to be candid: this is the one I struggle with all the time).
Lastly, I understand that selfies can just be silly fun.
We have to take an honest look at our behavior though. How many photos do we take of ourselves and post it for all the world (our our world) to see?
What is the most frequently painted canvas we share as artists?
Selfies are fun, but as all things, it can be taken too far. It can become sinful.
It’s to be expected of celebrities. Known for vanity.
It’s to be expected of toddlers and the tiara toting. Self absorbed by definition.
It isn’t to be expected of those in Christ.
It shouldn’t be a part of a godly woman’s (or man’s… do I have any men reading this?) behavior to post photos of herself constantly.
As Christians, we have to think and pray about what a selfie saturated culture represents.
While we can’t escape the word selfie, we can escape the sin of it.
Do you see the difference between taking the occasional selfie and swimming in the sea of selfies?
USA Today‘s article