Digitally Unplugging for True Connection
Have you ever been at a table with friends or family and instead of interacting, they were on their phones? Or you were on your phone? I’ve been on both sides of the situation. Phones and technology overall are distractions that tear our attention away from what matters most – our relationships with the body of Christ and with God.
Digital connections isolate us when we are created to be in community.
Social media and online connections make it easy to communicate with people quickly. However, online friendships do not sustain as well as real-life interactions. Digital connections can be done alone whereas gathering friends together for a game night or a meal involves community. God exists in community as the Trinity, and when God made Adam, He says, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” (Genesis 2:16, English Standard Version)
God clearly lays before us the importance of community and we should not let technology distract us from spending time in community! Here are some additional Bible passages on community and fellowship:
- Hebrews 10:24-25
- 1 Corinthians 12:12-27
- Acts 2:42-47
We must be mindful of what distracts us from deep interactions with others and with God. (Hint: it doesn’t have to be digital!)
Luke 10 includes a moment that shows Jesus responding to someone’s distractions. Jesus was invited into Martha’s home in a village He was passing through. Martha was diligently serving and making sure everything was great for Jesus’s stay. Martha worked while her sister, Mary, sat at Jesus’s feet. The text says,
“But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:40-42, ESV)
Jesus called Martha out on her distraction and reminds her of the necessary thing – of being in relationship with Christ. Martha had good intentions of being a great hostess, but it was distracting her and preventing her from being in full communion with Christ in that moment. Likewise, we should consider how we are distracted and take the posture of Mary at Jesus’ feet, rather than someone who is just in the room thinking and doing other things.
We need to unplug so we can connect.
Our fast-paced era of screens, clicks, likes, texts, and emails can be overwhelming and exhausting. Digital alerts make the things that compete for our attention much more difficult to ignore, since everything is easily accessible online and on our phones.
Try keeping track of how much time you spend looking at screens and where you look at them. Then see what happens when you put the phone away for an entire meal, or an entire day. Use that free time away from the screens as a chance to put your full attention toward a friend you’ve been meaning to catch up with or share the Gospel to, or to spend time in prayer and worship of God.
It may be difficult to unplug at first, but the connections made with others in the process will be worthwhile!
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.