I have a list of memories of events that fundamentally changed the core of who I am today. Almost all of them involve conversations where I looked the other person or persons in the eye. Almost none of them involve staring at a text or post on a screen.
There is so much healing and release that happens when you’re able to look into someone’s eyes and find true acceptance there. There’s truly something transcendent that takes place when you’re able to hear the words and read the facial expressions and catch the totality of what’s being communicated.
Yet these days I see a lot of heads constantly buried in smart phones and other devices. Even those sitting across from each other literally within touching distance will choose to communicate via text.
The upcoming generations are probably more advanced when it comes to texting and posting yet almost completely inadequate when it comes to actual social interaction. That’s sad.
I am most certainly not against social media or smart phones. I have both. I am against them when they entirely replace the old-fashioned conversation.
As a pastor that I greatly admire once said, God didn’t see our dire need of salvation and send a text. He didn’t look at our predicament and tag us in a social media post. He sent a person. He took on flesh and blood and moved into the neighborhood and met our greatest needs face to face. Because that and that only is where healing and forgiveness and restoration can take place.
It’s ironic that in the present age where we are more connected than ever that so many feel cut off and neglected. So many feel ignored and unwanted. As Mother Teresa once said, the greatest poverty is that of not feeling wanted by anyone.
The cure isn’t more connectivity but community. It’s not in having more Facebook friends but in cultivating the few real ones you have. It isn’t tagging more people in your posts but being more intentional about including them in your schedule for those face-to-face conversations.
That’s still what we need most.