Not long ago I heard a comedian talking about how technology had
changed our lives. In his routine he noted that…
“Technology is not our friend; I mean, if we can put a man on
the Moon why can’t we keep that brown streak out of our underwear?”
Although I wouldn’t have put it that way, I get his point. But I
think the biggest problem with technology is that it’s becoming a
serious barrier to quality relationships. Relationships are awkward
enough when we encounter people face to face; when you put
electronic devices between us, it gets worse. Answering machines are
nothing more than barriers we can selectively put up and take down
to fit the situation. Sure, answering machines serve a vital
function in our fast-paced society, but we humans tend to overdo
just about everything good in our lives. We have Caller I.D., Caller
I.D. Blocker, Caller I.D. Blocker Identifiers, Voice Mail, Beepers,
E-Mail, Skype, Video Conferencing, PDAs, Smart Phones, iPads,
Facebook, Twitter, etc. I am in an e-mail group with a bunch of guys
who can sometimes get a little testy with each other over certain
issues. I reminded them one day that it was too easy to see the
other person as just lines of characters on a computer screen
rather than a real person with needs and feelings.
How do you see others in your life; as a voice on an answering
machine, as e-mail characters from cyberspace or a real person with
whom you can communicate and get to know at a deeper level? I heard
recently of a company boss who went on vacation and, while there, he
used e-mail to fire several people because the company was
downsizing. How tacky can you get!?
It would be great if all of us would understand that significant
relationships require WORK (effort), TIME and an atmosphere free
from barriers to communication and interaction. In Hebrews 10:25 the
words, "Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the
habit of doing," do not just apply to church but are an
encouragement to get together often with those we care
about so that we can form relationships of significance.
Common Sense Application
1. Minimize electronic communication and insist
on face-to-face time as often as possible.
2. Do the work to have family gatherings where
you have everyone turn off their electronic devices and actually
talk, sharing stories about the family, future dreams, etc.