In this age of text, email, Facebook, Twitter, etc. – we’re raising generations of non-speaking people. They text their friends rather than calling them to talk; they text their jobs to avoid actually “calling in”; they email teachers instead of sticking around after class to ask questions; they post opinions on Facebook rather than engaging in healthy debates; they tweet the tiniest details about their life rather than actually experiencing things with people. And all of this technology, though it certainly has its benefits, is robbing many of the opportunities to develop relationships that actually involve speaking to people…face-to-face.
The benefits are certainly clear. Never before have we been able to reach so many people with one message instantaneously. So in terms of quantity, it can be useful. But in terms of quality, not so much. It seems there’s a very fine line between using these types of communication tools beneficially and allowing them to replace important face-to-face communication.
So I wonder…What would Jesus do? If email and Facebook were around when he walked this earth, I can’t really picture him kicking his feet up at home by himself and emailing and posting all day. Getting face-to-face with people mattered to Jesus. Looking in their eyes when he talked to them… Reaching out and touching them when he healed them. Allowing them to see the emotion behind his words, whether it was joy or grief; anger or compassion. People knew he meant what he was saying and that he was passionate about his message. That what he had to say was of utmost importance.
In the years he walked this earth – he reached multitudes of people face-to-face. Countless individuals were personally affected by their encounter with Jesus. And his many followers weren’t just watching a Twitter feed on a screen…they did everything they could to see him with their own eyes. To hear him with their own ears.
Jesus knew the task before him. He understood it from a heavenly perspective, and he was brutally aware that many would not want to hear what he had to say. But there was no hiding behind the words on a screen. Whether or not they wanted to hear the truth, that was what they got when Jesus showed up. And despite the fact that he could’ve pronounced the message at once for the whole world to hear – it was the personal experience that he wanted to provide. It was the face-to-face demonstration of love and grace, truth and mercy, that truly impacted people.
I’m guessing he’d like to see a whole lot more of that happening in the world today.
And it is with some personal conviction that I write this. I am guilty of falling for the allure of the electronic age. Even as I write this blog I am wondering if I would dare discuss these topics face-to-face. I’d like to think I would.
I pray that God will help me to use technology when it can be useful, but to more often show his love to people through face-to-face interactions with them.
The heartfelt counsel of a friend is as sweet as perfume and incense. (Proverbs 27:9 NLT)
Words satisfy the mind as much as fruit does the stomach; good talk is as gratifying as a good harvest. (Proverbs 18:20 MSG)
…an encouraging word cheers a person up. (Proverbs 12:25 NLT)
Congenial conversation—what a pleasure! The right word at the right time—beautiful! (Proverbs 15:23 MSG)
Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that. (Ephesians 5:2 MSG)
Love from the center of who you are; don’t fake it. (Romans 2:9 MSG)