In my previous post I set the foundation for our need of connecting with people.
What I want to do next is reflect on why, as Christians, we are supposed to be connected to other people. This is something that has to do with our creation and also with our redemption.
When God created Adam, He made him a companion with whom to have a meaningful relationship. In the garden of Eden, we see how that connection was meant to be. Once Adam fell, and the whole of mankind with him, relationships became broken, unsafe places full of pride and selfishness, blinding us to other’s needs. With Christ’s atoning sacrifice, He reversed the consequences of sin and united His people in Himself, so that we would belong to one another.
Because of this truth, there’s no need for us Christians to manufacture our union with one another. Through Christ, we have been already united in Him. Jesus has created a community of believers that become part of each other as soon as they believe in Him. Nevertheless, the Bible is full of commands for us to “love one another“. We have the responsibility to cherish and nurture these precious relationships.
But how can we grow in our love towards others in the present age?
Truth is, we’re all too busy these days. We find ourselves running late, running out of time, and in the few moments in between, we’re too distracted. Our blackberries, personal computers, mobile phones– they all keep us away from the people in front of us. All these means of communications are exciting. They take you places where it was almost impossible to go a few years ago. I don’t think I need to say a lot about this reality because we’re all part of it in one way or another. The worst part of this being connected is that it can be a 24/7 thing. We’re there for everybody all the time. But really…is it everybody?
I confess that for long periods of time, I’ve been more available to “other” people, than to the people in front of me. It’s easy for me to check my blackberry every 10 minutes to see if someone emailed or texted me. It’s even a way to escape, to look and be cool– you know what’s going on with your friends and you let them know what you’re up to. And for a tech freak like me, it’s easy to always be on the look-out for new information and apps that can make my existence a lot easier… stealing precious face time because I’m more immersed into my screen. It takes me away from people…from the ones that are really there…with me, right now! From the ones that God has providentially placed around me in this particular moment. The ironic thing about it is how uneasy it makes me feel when other people do the same to me. But seriously,think about it– is being this kind of distracted the loving thing to do to the person that’s in front of me?
So no, I’m not advocating that we should all throw our blackberries and iPhones in the trash and go back to simple phones. I am not saying, “No more social media, let’s go back to boredom!” What I am saying is that we need to stop for a minute and think about how we’re being available (or not) to our family and friends. We have a God-given, joyful responsibility to care for these “present” friends.
Understanding the challenge we have nowadays, in the next post, I will answer these questions:
How can being “available”all the time harm relationships?
How can we make use of the technology we have to love people the way Christ has loved us?