We are connected, but disconnected

Published 12:00 am Monday, February 6, 2017

Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil.”

For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up.” Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vine. Youtube, Google, Tumblr, Flickr. Reddit, Snapchat, Pinterest. Emojis, gifs, bit-mojis, Redbox, Netflix, Hulu. Self-checkout lines at the grocery store. Amazon delivering packages via drones to your house. If you were a NASA astronaut who was sent to Mars in the 1960s and returned to Earth yesterday, what would you think about all this “social media” stuff we’ve become addicted to?

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One of the things I find interesting about social media sites and apps is that they all have a common goal or objective they claim to fully accomplish: communication. Yet, how much time do we spend communicating, and by communicating I mean actually talking to one another? Facebook has multitudes of users simply sharing links. Twitter let’s people know what you’re doing. Anytime someone shares an opinion on religion or politics, they are immediately scrutinized and belittled. As of 2016, there are over 50 social media/business platforms you can be a part of to stay “connected.” Over 50!

God created mankind to be centered upon relationships. “Then the LORD God said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone,’” Genesis 2:18. “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interest of others,” Philippians 2:4. Our daily walk with the Lord should be focused on serving God, then others, and ourselves last — yet we have quickly turned into a culture that only cares about ourselves. Selfies? Really? It’s rare to have a conversation with a person without him/her looking down at a smartphone. We hide behind our phones as a social crutch. We certainly can’t drive in our cars without texting either! What’s all of this going to look like in 10 years? We’re all guilty of avoiding relationships — why? Because we have become extremely lazy. We’re letting technology do all the work for us. I’d rather have a birthday phone call instead of a “thumbs up” or exploding confetti emoji posted on my wall because of a Facebook reminder. Would you agree? The way we communicate is NOT how relationships are meant to be enjoyed.

A few years ago while I was in youth ministry, I took some of my students camping. I told them that if they wanted to go on the trip, they couldn’t bring their cellphones — plus where we were going the cell service was one bar at best. I can still remember the fear on their faces. One student even asked, “What are we supposed to do in the van on the way there?” I looked at her and said, “Talk to each other, face to face.” Instead of texting someone a long 20-plus word message on how you feel, call them and talk — or even better, ask them to meet you and talk it out. “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother,” Matthew 18:15. God designed us to have relationships —not to hide behind Facebook posts, Emojis, texts, Twitter, and all the other false “connections”. Let’s reconnect what we have disconnected and “confess our sins to one another and pray for one another, that we may be healed,” James 5:16.

Seth Duhs is the pastor at New Covenant Presbyterian Church in Natchez.