Selfies, Usies, and My Hilarious Husband

An "Usie" of my cat and I using photobooth on my Macbook.
An “Usie” of my cat and I using photobooth on my Macbook.

You can’t use social media without seeing at least a dozen selfies. As technology has progressed and posting a picture takes only seconds, selfies have become more and more prevalent. Everybody’s doing it. My husband and I often talk about how the selfie may be leading our culture away from God.

While selfies seem rather harmless–and some completely are–they are also reinforcing ideals of vanity in our culture. They are particularly dangerous amongst girls and women with body image issues or similar insecurities. Comparison games have become so much easier to play through social media and the invention of the selfie. God distinctly warns against vanity throughout scripture.

“Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” Proverbs 31:30

Samuel learns about vanity in choosing the king of Israel, “For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”  Again, when considering whether or not a person can obtain salvation, God spoke through the Apostle Paul who said, “We are not commending ourselves to you again but giving you cause to boast about us, so that you may be able to answer those who boast about outward appearance and not about what is in the heart.” We cannot be saved by how we appear but by what is in our heart.

Social media gives us an avenue to appear a certain way to hundreds of people on a daily basis. When you post anything, particularly a selfie, I would like to challenge you to consider your motivation behind it. My husband and I concluded that an acceptable selfie is when the center of attention is something other than your face or other body part (baby bumps excluded as it’s really about the baby).

Some acceptable selfies, for example, are when you found a deal on a unique fashion accessory you are excited to show off or you went to an interesting place and there is no one else to take a photo for proof. Additionally, we don’t need a three times daily account of your most recent adventure; all in moderation, please.

Also acceptable, if someone else is in the picture, it is not a selfie. My dad likes to call this an “usie.” If someone else took the photo, it is not a selfie. Another type of photo which is not a selfie is one which is actually a self-provided picture of practical purpose. To expound on this principle, and for your reading pleasure, here is a wonderfully hysterical e-mail exchange (with permission) between my husband and his sister, Melissa. Melissa knows Andrew is not fond of selfies, so as sisters do, she thought she’d have a little fun with him…and boy did he have some fun in return!

Andrew,

I just wanted to let you know that I took a selfie the other day. True, it was to put on an important document. And it was with a webcam. It was not for a frivolous purpose. Still it was a selfie.

And then today. I bought a new cell phone. It comes with a camera. I was lying on my bed inspecting my new cell phone and trying out the camera function. I raised the phone, positioned it above me, and took what can only be described as a selfie.

I wanted to let you know about these happenings in my life. Knew you´d receive this news with great appreciation!

Melissa

Dear sister,

It was with a heavy heart that I write back to you concerning this most unfortunate circumstance in which you find yourself.

It has become clear to me that you had honorable intention in taking this first selfie. Perhaps this is where your error in judgment began. For it was not a selfie that you took, it was a practical self-provided picture for a legitimate purpose. This is something that even I would be willing to do. I too am prone to errors in judgment; however, I know that when it comes to selfies, I am always 110% right in everything that I think and say, and that it is important that I express my views to all people, on every possible occasion (for their own good of course, but what else could come from a person as kind-hearted and magnanimous as I…) I too would take this “selfie” knowing that it is not actually a selfie. I believe the correct acronym is SPPOPP (“self-provided picture of practical purpose”). One should (of course) be sure to pronounce all of the p’s; in weighty matters such as these, one cannot be too careful!

Alas, you took a SPPOPP thinking it was a selfie. This (of course) opened (wrongly) the door of your mind to the possibility (non-existent) that a selfie can ever be an appropriate choice. This course of action can be almost impossible to undo, but take heart, there are known cases in which people in most unfortunate circumstances (such as yours) have been able to revert back to a complete, unyielding, and most solidly secured opposition to all taking of selfies.

As for the method of treatment, it is actually quite simple. It requires only will-power and the (completely obvious) realization that everything I’m saying is immediately evident as completely true, irrefutable, reliable, and (in all other aspects, real or imagined) correct.

The method of treatment is to take the camera or phone (It, of course, must be the same object with which said selfie was procured) and to spend an entire 24 hour period taking pictures of a blank wall. These pictures must be taken once every five minutes, and no sleep, food, or any rest may be taken until the 24 hour period has expired. In between pictures, it is (of course) necessary to examine each photo thoroughly for any possible object of interest or imperfection in the surface. It goes without saying that said surface must be as plain and boring as possible.

Upon the conclusion of said 24 hours, you will (undoubtedly and most assuredly) have a complete, total, and unyielding revulsion to the now contaminated object which was used to procure the selfie. Sadly, the object cannot be de-contaminated. You will (undoubtedly) see the need to immediately rid yourself of said object and procure a replacement. Should the slightest temptation to take a selfie ever arise again, you will (most assuredly) remember this experience, and said memory will (undoubtedly) quash any possibility of falling into this most undesirable situation a second time. (Let’s not even begin to touch on what is necessary to help those who have fallen into this situation multiple times.)

I am most confident that you will make a most effective, quick, and complete recovery, and I commend you for reaching out for help. It is (of course) obvious that your email was a cry for help, disguised (most assuredly) as a joke, and I am most glad that I could be of most competent and reliable assistance in this dark hour.

Your most truly, sincerely, and with all manner of applicable salutations.

Andrew

I hope you found this exchange as hysterical as the three of us did. I also hope you consider weighing the motivation of the selfies you post in the future. Are you playing into the hands of cultural vanity or is there a deeper purpose which is honoring to God?

What are your thoughts?

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