In the city of dreams, both the broken and fulfilled kind, egos are often a problem. Sometimes, it seems like all of Los Angeles is shouting, “Look at me!”
But is it ever perfectly okay to be selfie-centric? Maybe we need to ask, “When should we point everyone in our direction? Is it ever OK?”
Do angels take selfies?
I include myself among Los Angelenos because even though I currently live in the OC, I was born in the City of Angels… and well, I just feel better walking among them. Of course, it could be argued that I’m struggling with my own ego… and angels are only found in heaven. But I’m off point.
Another word for ego is pride. And here’s the rub: we are warned in the Bible that God hates the sin of pride and will discipline the proud!
The Lord detests all the proud of heart. Be sure of this: They will not go unpunished. — Proverbs 16:5
Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. — Romans 12:16
If you are like me, you are asking right about now: Isn’t there ANY time when it’s OK to be prideful?
The answer I’ve found so far: Absolutely not!
But I want to add something here to this discussion on ego and pride… and Los Angeles.
Let’s start by reading this:
You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless.
You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden.
No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house.
In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father. — Matthew 5:13-16
Here’s where I believe followers of Jesus should not be afraid to at least broadcast in some way something GOOD that they are or were a part of. I said broadcast, not boast — as in it’s okay to share some good news. For example, you may want to share that you were part of the Compton Initiative along with thousands of other people simply showing love by action in the city’s neighborhoods by cleaning, painting, hauling, or whatever for the entire day on Saturday.
Having been working in Compton for over a year I get in an depth look at the nature and state of this city. I see that it’s really a city with potential and good people. I also see that this is a town that desperately cries out for love and compassion. Today through @thecomptoninitiative thousands came together and gave a few hours of their Saturday to shine some light on this city. #JustDoGood
Does the world need to hear about these kind of stories? Is it okay to post a selfie of you and a dozen of your buddies transforming a house from a ruin to a gem?
Some may question your motive for doing a good deed now that you let them know. “And you did it why?” You may answer in a sort of sappy way (some may think). “Because you want to reflect the love of Jesus, you say? Huh?”
I think many Christians are leery of showcasing their works motivated by their love for God. And maybe that’s okay for some. Perhaps they would rather err on the side of humility.
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves. — Philippians 2:3
If it makes you feel better, when someone asks you how you managed to paint an entire apartment complex in one day, you can say “God did it. I didn’t!” However, what I’m talking about is not cliche Christian-ease. It’s about making sure to not put His lamp under a basket, and not hiding His love. It is about displaying His works so everyone can see. It’s about letting your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.
Are you still having a hard time grasping the idea of letting others know what you and your friends are doing in the name of Christ?
Several years ago, I did a story on atheists successfully shutting down the nearly 60-year tradition that a group of churches did every year, display a series of scenes centered on the birth of Christ at a Christmas festival at Palisades Park in Santa Monica. Early one morning, after the story was published, I awoke with the idea and vision that nothing could stop a live Nativity flash mob from taking place in Santa Monica, and I was going to see if I could help organize it.
Why did I go ahead with the idea? And why did God slam doors open all the way down the line, all the way through the final moment this beautiful expression of song and acting happened?
Because it’s okay to celebrate one’s faith! It’s okay to point to the Good News!
I still have one more suggestion for those shy of telling your God-centered story about works accomplished — especially those of you living in LA.
Let TogetherLA.net tell your story. Whether it’s a story tip or a completely written-out story, send it our way. You’ll help encourage others… you’ll be sharing the Good News!
Let your (His) lamp shine!
I look forward to hearing from you!
— Alex Murashko, TogetherLA.net Senior Editor — Email: firstname.lastname@example.org