I’m sure you have noticed this too; I walked into Starbucks and there were people in line, people waiting for their drinks, and people sitting down (with a few others). Now that’s kind of normal, but what I saw that morning was something that got my attention. It was not the new pumpkin spice latte, nor the full array of pastries available, though a tasty scone would be nice. No, what I noticed was everyone, and I mean everyone with locked in attention, was looking at their smart phone! No one was talking and no one was making eye contact…not even the people who were sitting at a table together! I even found myself drawn to take my phone out of my pocket to respond to a few emails.
Now, I love technology and love my iPhone. I think my wife gets a bit miffed when I start referring to my friend Siri and how wonderful she is (she is the voice of my iPhone). But I love the ease and convenience smart phones have given us to connect to others. We can connect through a text message, an email, a Facebook post, a call, with Facetime or Skype chat. There are many ways to connect and be connected to each other. What a great way to follow God’s challenge to love and encourage each other.
John 13:34-35 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
Hebrews 10:24-25 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together (in person or virtually), as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another –and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
Now this is great, yet there is a down side to the always-available connectivity. Though there is continued research on this, most critiques fall into two categories:
1. We are not taking enough time to think
Joshua 1:8 Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.
The word meditate means to mull it over in our mind and do a little interacting with God and our thoughts. This is very difficult to do if we are constantly engaging posts, tweets, emails, texts, and calls.
2. We can diminish our skill in communication
Talking/communicating is an art form that, like dancing, takes practice. We have to learn how to express our feelings and know we are understood. Communication is vital to marriage, friendships, family relationships, work and school relationships, and most importantly, our relationship with God. Many of these relationships grow through conflict
Proverbs 27:6 Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.
Proverbs 27:17 As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.
Like the friction that sharpens knives, conflict sharpens relationships. Yet it’s difficult if the conflict is shut down by deleting, blocking, or logging off when the conversation gets difficult.
Again, I am not against using our smart phones, nor am I starting a campaign to ban phone use in public places. What I want to do is raise awareness that time alone with The Lord is vital and taking time to think with Him is essential. As well, don’t run from conflict or ignore it, but learn from it and slog through the messiness of it so you learn and grow from it.
Just something to ponder after you finish reading this post.
Seeking to handle conflict and take time think with you.