It’s so easy to find our social media practices as our primary way of connecting with people. I have to admit I’ve loved being able to connect with old friends from high school and former places that I’ve lived on social media. But, I also see how social media can intercept the face-to-face connections that we need with people. Just last week, I felt the need to call an old friend, rather than text her a short message. Sometimes, it's just better.
We’re so in touch with people, yet so not in touch with people at the same time. I must be old, but rarely do we call people anymore to just ask “How are you doing? or “I just want to thank you for…..” It’s easier to give a “like” on facebook, than take the time to actually ASK someone about their special occasion.
Beth Moore writes “We still need face to face, legit, warm flesh and blood friendships. We still need someone to hold our hand when we’re broken-hearted, to laugh with us til we cry or cry with us til we laugh. We need people with whom we’re safe. A screen can’t do that for us. Friends>phones.” Sometimes, I need that reminder. I can get so busy that I miss this! I long to be this type of safe friend for others.
What keeps us from having these face-to face connections? People are longing for safe people to be face to face with. As a chaplain, one of the things I always say to people when I meet with them is that what they say to me is held in confidence. I think people fear sharing their true self for fear of their secret being shared. Secondly, I think we fear being open about our own brokenness. When we share our stuff, it allows others to know that they’re not alone! When we’re open about our own mistakes, struggles and shortcomings, we allow others to know they’re not alone.
What would our relationships, work and family like look like if you initiated with others with Christ’s love? How would your relationships change if you practiced keeping confidences and loving others well? Who might you initiate with by picking up the phone or setting a lunch date? What family member might need to hear from you?
Ally Yarid writes “What Jesus did not say: Love one another when it’s convenient, you benefit, and they love you back. What Jesus did say: Love one another JUST AS I HAVE LOVED YOU. Loving one another wasn’t a suggestion, it was a command. Treat it as such.” How might you love well this week?
Nancy Abbott is the Chaplain of the YMCA of Greater San Antonio.