As time moves on and technology continues to accelerate, it’s becoming more apparent that the most important and precious cornerstone in our society is starting to suffer. In general, the very heartbeat of society is unraveling and breaking down as a result. It’s becoming more obvious that technology overuse is tampering with the gift of real relationships. Not to sound too dramatic, but it’s becoming a bit of an invasion.
Think about this: You really can’t go anywhere without being exposed to various forms of technology. It’s everywhere. It has come into our homes, our schools, the workplace. We have it at our fingertips 24/7 and continually seem to crave more. Society has become addicted to it, and in many ways can’t seem to break away from it. The majority of people are tied to iPhones, laptops, video games, endless apps, and social media in the form of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.
The list is long and there doesn’t seem to be enough time in one day to dive into it all. It’s become society’s addiction, and like all addictions—it comes with a high price tag. The craving of technology can waste countless hours and send us crashing quickly, leaving our relationships mere shells of what they could be.
Through the use of social media, we’re being conditioned to believe relationships can be shallow and not much time is needed to cultivate them. We seem happy to have 100 plus “friends” on Facebook, yet really know nothing about these “friends” or their personal lives. If that isn’t sad enough, many parents have no problem sitting for hours on end with their iPhones in hand while their children’s childhoods slip away…time that will never be given to them again.
How can we allow these external things to have such a tight rein on our lives, our schedules, our relationships? Why are so many eyes and hearts closed to the fact that time is precious, real relationship involve time and investment, and there’s never a better counterfeit for the real thing? Just as important, how can we meet the needs of others, even those closest to us as Jesus commands, if we’re not close enough to know what those needs are?
Jesus made it clear in John 15:12,14-15 when he stated, “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” He goes on to say, “You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.”
Jesus knew the importance of true relationships. He knew if we never dive deep we’ll always come up in the shallow end and our relationships and will never grow into something substantial and meaningful. And if we don’t have meaningful relationships how will we ever make a real impact in people’s lives and hearts?
In 1 John 3:18 Scripture reminds us that building relationships involves being truly present in the lives of others: “Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.”
Thankfully, God, in His infinite wisdom, knew the special role relationships would play in our lives. He knew people would richly benefit from deep and meaningful relationships. He Himself wishes to have a deep relationship with His children. He wants our undivided attention—the best of us. We see His love and concern for us when, from the beginning; He created a helpmate for Adam.
“But for Adam no suitable helper was found. So the LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. The man said, ‘This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.” (Genesis 2:20-23)
Unfortunately, technology is taking away from meaningful personal relationships. To many, technology has become an idol. Too many people can’t seem to simply unplug and pull themselves away to reconnect with the real world, and spend time on more important matters. People are overwhelmed, hurried, and consumed by emails, gossip sites, Snapchats and Pinterest.
Many are so buried under and entangled in technology and social media that they don’t even realize they have allowed these new ways of “connecting” to take over their lives. Their presence creates a facade of connectedness without true connection. Various studies have even linked technology overuse with a rise in fatigue, stress and depression. To hear of these disturbing consequences is not surprising, as many are unplugging from the real in favor of the superficial.
Don’t misunderstand…technology can be a great thing. It can advance a society, create cool innovations, promote great strides and dive into new discoveries. But when it’s overused, it negatively affects both the user and those in the user’s circle of influence.
As a whole, technology can interfere with the most important aspect of our lives—true human interaction and the God-given gift of relationships. When this happens in society, we have a problem that needs to be assessed. Technology can only take us so far, but human interaction as God designed it to be, can take us further.
Sadly, we have allowed our fast paced world to take away the joy of simply enjoying a moment; appreciating the fresh air of a beautiful day, sharing deeply in a relationship, and just taking time to rest, unplug and recharge. As a society we can all benefit from both reflecting and acting upon the blessing found in this wise Scripture:
“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the day drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:24-25)
Have you disconnected from being connected to what really matters?
If so, vow today to replace the superficial with the real and take a stand to disconnect from the unimportant in order to connect with what’s truly important. The time you invest will reap a harvest of joy and blessing both now and for all eternity.