Face to Face

Technology is moving at breakneck speeds. A few years ago, cell phones were introduced and the “experts” thought that only the richest business people would have need of them. Hmmm, think they were a little off? Nowadays everyone and their grandma has a cell phone. Literally, grandmas, grandpas, young adults, teens, even kids – everyone has a cell phone.

They talk, they surf the web, and they text. Yes, grandmas text. You may have to show her how, but it is happening.

Technology has changed the way we communicate, but in our rush to move forward I don’t know if anyone has stopped to ask if we should move forward so quickly? I mean just because we CAN do something, doesn’t mean that we SHOULD.

I have read countless articles telling people to get ready because today’s young people all communicate in ways vastly different than their parents, even though their parents are being sucked in as well. And yes, being aware of the changes in communication is very important, but I also think a warning needs to be sounded.

20 years from now, we are going to be the most technological, wired-in society the world has ever seen, and in my opinion, we are also going to be dealing with a society that is socially retarded, unable to cope with problems, and chronically depressed. Oh sure, we will be able to text each other, and share our problems on Facebook, or whatever social networking site is popular at the time, upload pictures of our latest achievements, but we will be so unhappy.

And even though much of what I say here is opinion, I also believe I have the Bible to back me up. For example:

I have to txt u, but don’t wanna use my phone. Instead I wnt 2 talk face2face, so we can be J.

OK, that’s a paraphrase of 2 John 2:11 The ESV says it this way – Though I have much to write to you, I would rather not use paper and ink. Instead I hope to come to you and talk face to face, so that our joy may be complete.

John here is saying that although he has a lot to say, he doesn’t want to write anymore, he instead wants to come and talk face to face. Not because he prefers it, but because he says it will make their joy complete. John recognized the importance of relationship and how a face to face meeting is superior to a written letter (or how face to face is superior to a status update on Facebook or a text).

We need to be careful how we use the technology that God has gifted us with. It needs to be an enhancement to the face to face relationships we have and continue to foster. If we start to substitute Facebook updates and texts for face to face meetings – our joy will not be complete and we will be moving further on down the road to dysfunction.

Here are a couple more examples from the Bible that back-up what John said. Paul in writing to the church at Ephesus and Colossae said he was going to send a real live person to talk to them. He has just spent pages and pages talking to the churches, but closes each letter saying that someone is coming to them to meet them face to face. Even Paul, who wrote a large portion of the New Testament, understood the importance of meeting in person.

Ephesians 6:21-23 – So that you also may know how I am and what I am doing, Tychicus the beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord will tell you everything. I have sent him to you for this very purpose, that you may know how we are, and the he may encourage your hearts.

Colossians 4:7-9 – Tychicus will tell you all about my activities. He is a beloved brother and faithful minister and fellow servant in the Lord. I have sent him to you for this very purpose, that you may know how we are and that he may encourage your hearts, and with him Onesimus, our faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you. They will tell you of everything that has taken place here.

Notice in each instance, Paul realized how face to face meetings not only allowed people to form relationships, but also would encourage hearts, something mere letters (or texts) are unable to do.

Yes, I realize the hypocrisy in that many of you will be reading this because I emailed it to you, or posted it on my blog and updated my Facebook profile to let you know about it. But my hope is that I never let my use of technology take the place of face to face meetings and the forming of real relationships.

Just something to think about.

And as a side note – as awesome as the Bible is and as amazing as it is in transforming lives and giving us a picture of who Jesus is, how much more awesome and amazing is it going to be when we meet Him face to face? Just sayin.

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