The Rise of Selfies

posted in: Opinion

Every subtle nuance of human civilization is now becoming an art tool in stimulating self-confidence and self-esteem. The world has given us a power to change everything through our fingertips. The extract on its flavor imparts sweetness in the method of self-representation of every people. This savory taste of social media has been loved by the taste buds of billions of people. I am talking about “selfie”.

The word “selfie” was born in 2013. According to Wikipedia, the word was officially added in the Oxford English Dictionary the same year. Now, the word became a lifestyle of every people. Camera phones have become a center of rehabilitation and a care giver to those people who want to be appreciated.

While writing this article, it gave me a profound sense of guilt. Undeniably, I am one of those millions who love selfie. Using all camera features to make you look good. Speaking of looking good, who doesn’t want to look good, anyway? Phones now are like genie. It grants wishes in just a click away. Whatever looks you want – fair or dark skin, young and slim; your wish is your phone’s command. Camera phones have been granted the power to enhance your physical features. No need to undergo through scissors and knives because the media surgery now is as fast as the lightning to give you the portrait you desire. There is no need to edit our portraits to look good. In the eyes of God we are all handsome and beautiful. We are His magnificent crafts. What God wants is not the color of your skin nor your size, what He wants is your heart.

Is selfie a disease to society? What about to humanity? Selfie nowadays is not only a social issue, it is now a very relevant issue to tackle about specially to Christians. A polemical subject not only to society but also spirituality. It is a big fuss to some, while others it’s simply a big fun. Is selfie be considered a self-vanity? Is it self-confidence or narcissism?

Narcissism comes from the Greek myth about Narcissus, a handsome Greek youth who, according to Ovid, rejected the desperate advances of the nymph Echo.  This caused Narcissus to fall in love with his own reflection in a pool of water. Unable to consummate his love, Narcissus "lay gazing enraptured into the pool, hour after hour," and finally changed into a flower that bears his name, the narcissus. (Wikipedia).

Into what extent does a selfie become a self-vanity? Is it taking pictures inside the church while service is ongoing and all are worshipping? Church service needs not to be filmed every single moment because we are not actors, we are servants of God. Church doesn’t need audience or spectators. This is not about performing or acting, it is all about worshipping and praising God. God did not hire a photographer or a videographer inside His church just to see what is happening, because His eyes are million times clearer than the lens of the camera. God doesn’t need our portfolios or an album. He only needs our hearts. He sees what we do. He knows what we do.

Not only that, taking picture of your hand because you got small burns or bruises, but the camera is focused on your new wristwatch. Taking picture of your feet because you are tired from walking, but the camera is angled to your new shoes. Taking pictures of new laundry shirt but the camera is centered on the brand or logo. Taking picture of your drinks because you need refreshments, but the camera is positioned to the logo “Starbucks”, “Tim Horton’s”. Is there really a need to take pictures of our whereabouts? our errands? Is there a need to take photo of what we eat from breakfast to dinner? For what? There is always an art to photography. Every picture tells a thousand stories. It is all about interpretation of reality or perhaps just a form of entertainment. You decide!

There is always a reason for everything. Behind our minds; behind our hearts there is an inner voice. It’s between you and God what is that voice within. Likewise, there is also a price for everything if we improperly use these tools. Since the invention of this media application, this already caused several numbers of death due to mishaps. The proper use of this application is necessary. Make sure that it benefits the interests of others not yours.

Philippians 2:4 “Not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others”. All about self-centeredness and self-absorption. When we let our attention to please people to pacify our yearning and when we are fully absorbed by own interests or personal concerns.  Then, we become men pleasers. Every “like” or “comment” in your Facebook and every “follower” in your Twitter or Instagram counts. Sometimes we create an image in our minds and pretend they do exist but in reality, they don’t. We acclimate colloquial expressions because we think it sounds attractive and pleasing to men, but is it also pleasing to God? Think twice.

Romans 12:1-2 “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God--this is your spiritual act of worship.  Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will”. Our bodies – this is not merely a circumlocutory expression that talks about “ourselves” but this represents the totality of a human being literally and figuratively that we should be holy inside and out. To be transformed is not only tantamount to metamorphosis of our physical attributes, but most importantly the total alteration of our inner being.  It also deliberates our worldly affair. James 4:4 “You adulterers! Don’t you realize that friendship with the world makes you an enemy of God? I say it again: If you want if you want to be a friend of the world, you make yourself an enemy of God” The verse in a metaphor sense is all about loving the world more than God. Isn’t it we are His bride and He is our bridegroom. Revelation 19: 7 “Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready”. In the law of man, adultery is punishable by law, likewise in the law of God.

There is nothing wrong in taking pictures, as a matter of fact, it brings yesteryears back. We can gather good memories. We capture the world though a lens. It is very helpful to gathering news. It informs people what is happening to society. But, knowing our limitation is very important. We should know the difference between “use” and “abuse”.  Having the freedom to use multimedia is a privilege but we should also be responsible to always double check our postings and our words. Pictures that are provocative and words that are offensive should not be posted. These are things that we should not be proud of. There are some domestic confidentialities in every home that need not to be divulged or else safety and security will suffer. There are many things to be considered not only the background nor the subject, but above all, the thoughts.

At the end of the day, it is the intention behind actions that really matters. God knows our purpose. What is pleasing to men might not pleasing to God. Let us not camouflage ourselves through multimedia to make us appear look good and holy. To show to people our way of living: picture of ourselves while doing something like praying or doing some charities and many more because what people only see are just smokescreens of reality. John 4:23-24 “But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshippers will worship Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship Him. God is a spirit and those who worship Him must worship Him in Spirit and in truth” God is looking for a true worshipper and to be a true worshipper will not be judged by our selfies and of course, it won’t give us a sure ticket to heaven.

Think before you click!

Follow Ptr. Tyrone Reyes:
Editor-in-Chief, The OPIF Digest