I believe the Selfie Generation could be getting a heads-up from God. The basic message might be summed up in four words: “Repent! Try some humility.”
Although there are notable exceptions (think Pope Francis), the majority of today’s selfie junkies are taking narcissism to spectacular heights. “Hey, look at me!” has become the motto for an entire generation. The ongoing pictorial announcements of “Here I am again, world” have replaced the once common query to another human being: “So, how are you?”
What does God really think about the selfie phenomenon? Personally, I believe He (or She) may be getting fed up with the constant posing. Being a daily witness to preening self-absorption must become boring, especially for the deity who some say created the universe.
Is it possible that the Supreme Being is preparing an eventual consequence for this self-worship? Perhaps each infernal electronic device in the whole wide world will suddenly fail at once. A simultaneous disruption of in-progress selfies could possibly provoke a seismic stress event. PTSD (post-traumatic selfie disruption) has the potential to provide a new category of modern emotional disorders.
What does God say about selfies in the Bible? In the prescient book of Proverbs, you can read these words: “Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth. Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; someone else and not your own lips.”
And, in Matthew 23:12, Jesus adds this not-so-subtle warning: “For whoever exalts himself will be humbled and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.” Hmm.
In the Old Testament book of Ecclesiastes, which studies the meaning of life, we ponder these prophetic words: “The words of the Teacher, son of David, king in Jerusalem: ‘Meaningless! Meaningless! Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.’ (Ecclesiastes 1:1-2)
And who can forget the chiding words of Paul as he cautioned the contentious Corinthians: “For the wisdom of the world is foolish in God’s sight. So then, no more boasting!” (1 Corinthians 3:19,21)
Many will argue that constant selfie-ing seems no more harmful than a sideways glance in the nearest mirror. However, I would respectfully submit that God might offer three quick objections to the incessant habit of taking your own picture and then posting it to the cosmos:
1. You are wasting precious time that might actually be used to make the world a better place.
2. How many photos of you does the world really require to function efficiently?
3. Every day we all look slightly older until, finally, you would rather be dipped in boiling oil than submit to any depiction of your current state.
As you pose and frame your next selfie, know that God may be watching you. Sorry, but I detect a frown.
Before you make that fateful click, stop and repent! Still can’t resist? At the very least, you might consider giving up selfies during the next Lenten period.
After all, that would be nearly a year away.
Allen C. Liles is a retired minister in Bloomington.