Balancing technology with loving others face-to-face

In John 13:34-35, Jesus said, “I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”

Sometimes, we have a tendency to think that it is our theology, our church attendance or “perfect” behavior that proves that we are Christ’s disciples.

It is not a Christian symbol on our car or a cross on our neck or the fact that we post scriptures or Christian sayings on Facebook that proves to the world that we are a disciple of Christ. Love for others is the evidence of our faith.

Loving God and loving people are the two greatest priorities in life. As technology impacts our world, it is impacting relationships. More face time is spent with social media, cellphones, laptops and tablets than with real human interaction.

All of these things are useful, but they must be managed or they will consume our time and rob us of authentic, real-life relationships. Having a “friend” on Facebook will never replace genuine human interaction.

So, how do we stop all of the scrolling and clicking in order to engage in the lives of the people we love? It will require discipline, but we must learn how to practice the power of presence. It seems like we have forgotten how to be totally present with other people.

Romans 12:9 says, “Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them.” One of the ways to really love them is by being present in their lives. The Apostle Paul goes on to challenge us to “Love each other with genuine affection and take delight in honoring each other.” That is difficult to do online.

During the next few weeks, we’ll explore how technology is impacting our relationships. We’ll think through ways to make sure that we are making the most of our time while leveraging technology for good in our day-to-day lives.

We have all seen a group of friends hanging out together or a family in a restaurant, and everyone is on their phone. You can be alone in a crowd. It is so sad, but I must admit, I am guilty myself.

You may miss out on something online, but don’t miss out on what is happening right in front of you. People are important. Presence is powerful. It is hard to be present when you are constantly connected. More next time…

You may read Steve Greene’s blog at pastorgreene.wordpress.com or you can email him at steve@gotothepoint.com.