Social media has brought tremendous changes to how we connect with others, and it has also had a profound impact on the quality of our face-to-face interactions. Sometimes, these digital platforms can create a more superficial and detached approach to relationship building, resulting in a potential loss of genuine connection and understanding. This was happening pre-pandemic, however since the pandemic our reliance on technology and social media for connection and building relationships has compounded, and our ability to make genuine, face to face connections with others has declined tremendously. It is crucial for us to recognize and address these concerns with compassion and understanding, so that we can effectively mitigate the negative effects they have brought into our lives.
I firmly believe that the decline in face-to-face interaction in the last few years has significantly contributed to a worrisome decrease in empathy, while simultaneously fueling the rise of narcissism and exacerbating social anxiety issues. The world is going to do what the world is going to do, but as Christians, it is imperative that we take prompt action to address these concerning trends because we are not immune to them. Furthermore, our mission as Christians is built upon our ability to build relationships with others (Matthew 5:13).
Because souls are important
We are not designed to be alone, and disconnected from others; humans are social creatures, and when we neglect building real connection in our relationships, we run the risk of becoming detached and disenfranchised. What’s more, we are quite literally seeing this unfold right before our eyes. Christians, we have to do better because souls are important, not just our souls, but the souls of those with whom we interact on a daily basis whether that be in the social media realm or face to face.
We must individually make up our minds to put in the effort to build deep and meaningful relationships, so that we can prevent further decline, and perhaps, even change our trajectory to a more positive, more connected, thus more content and peaceful life.
Don’t let the current “do what makes you happy,” “me first” atmosphere of today’s world envelop your outlook on life. Instead do things to intentionally build stronger love and connection with the people in your every day life, you will truly be blessed.
Today is the day to:
- Log off
- Take a meal to a single person or shut in
- Invite someone out for coffee
- Take a minute to talk to a quiet person in your local congregation
- Write a note of encouragement
- Ask a child what they learned in class (Bible class or regular school)
- Practice warm facial expressions (Pro 18:24)
- Ask your children “high point/low point” of their day
- Spend a few minutes listening to someone without wracking your brain for a response
- Give grace and the benefit of the doubt (Rom 12:10)
- Stand for truth (Pro 28:1)
- Remind yourself of the sanctity of life (1 Tim 2:4)
- Hold the door open for someone
- Practice empathy (put yourself in someone else’s shoes)
- Read 1 Corinthians 13 and reflect
- Put your phone down in social situations
- Before “canceling” someone, talk to them (Matt 5:39)
The call to action
We don’t do better by nit-picking each other, canceling each other, or alternatively never standing up for what we believe in for the sake of tolerance and sparing feelings. For the church’s sake and for our sakes’, we must figure out how to strike a balance between the two. We must do the hard things. The time is now to re-learn (or learn for the first time for many of us, seemingly) how to foster connections with each other, work through the difficult times with each other like your soul depends on it, because it does.
Now here is the disclaimer: Because we are seeing a rise in a lack of empathy and narcissism these days, you may be reading this and saying to yourself “I have done all of these things and I’m at my whit’s end with it.” There are people who are so caught up in themselves that no matter how hard you try to foster connections and work through the difficult times with them, they just will not budge. That’s on them, not on you. Remember you are responsible for yourself, they are responsible for themselves. Boundaries may have to be set in order for you to move on. You are responsible for your soul, so you can do what’s right and true regardless.
I hope that this can inspire us to build relationships with those around us. People are hurting, scared, concerned, and stressed these days.
Let’s bear each others burdens and work together to alleviate some of the pain.
Let’s not tear each other down, Let’s build each other up!
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