The word “selfie” gained international recognition in 2013 when it was named the Oxford Dictionaries’ word of the year. Their definition follows: “A photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website.”
Selfies abound on social media, especially Facebook. Although the younger generation is more likely to post self-portraits, I’ve seen others, from their 50s on up, post photos, not of their faces necessarily, but of wounds they’ve accrued through accidents or after surgery.
The first “selfie,” according to different websites I checked out, was posted on Facebook by a 22-year-old Australian man who had suffered a busted lip after tripping and falling face-first at a party. The man apologized for the somewhat blurry photo of his lower lip when he said, “Sorry about the focus, it was a selfie.”
Two words in his statement jumped out at me when I read the story—focus and selfie. Looking at these two words through spiritual eyes, we are reminded through various scriptures not to focus on ourselves, but God and others.
What did Jesus say about the greatest law?
In Matthew 22:36-40, Jesus is asked by a Pharisee, “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?”
Jesus replies, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”
What if we examined our lives in light of these commandments? More or less? More of Jesus, less of me. More of helping and spending time with others and less of what I desire. What would our lives look like?
We’d be challenged to ask ourselves this question with every activity we wanted to join or every door of opportunity that opened. We’d need to ask the question, “Do I need more of this or less of that in my life?”
What do real relationships involve?
Social media can be used for good but if we spend too much time using it as a tool to promote our own agendas, it leads to losing focus on real relationships. Instead, our focus is on “selfie.”
Real relationships, including one with Jesus, looks like the following: spending time in prayer, studying scripture, being in fellowship with other Christians and less social media; more time with friends and family, less e-mail and text messaging; more quiet time, less noise from the worldly shouts of “it’s all about me.”
In the “The Purpose Driven Life,” the very first statement made by Rick Warren, pastor and author, is “It’s not about you.”
We’re born self-centered and dependent on our parents to provide for our needs. It’s all about us: feed me, change me, hold me and play with me. To move from selfishness to selflessness requires intention and a whole lot of Jesus. We can’t do it without Him.
He must become greater. We must become less.