The ice age, the iron age, the bronze age and…the technological age. Scientists of the future will probably classify all the abandoned paraphernalia they dig up as evidence of the “technological” age. Of course, science will have advanced far beyond what we think are the marvels of our age – all the conveniences and advantages that computers, tablets, and cell phones have brought us, not to mention computerised vehicles and aircraft and everything else that is computer-driven and computer-controlled.
Remember the panic spawned by Y2K 16 years ago? We all held our breath when the clock ticked one second past midnight on the 31st December 1999. Were all the computers on earth going to crash and cause aircraft to fall from the sky? Who knows what other disasters would catch us unawares?
However, like every other man-made innovation, the technology which has lifted our lives to a higher plane, also has its dark side. There are always those who will exploit what is good for their own evil purposes. Hackers, sexual predators, unscrupulous business people – they all prey on the unsuspecting, to mention just a few.
I have seen something else which is seemingly innocent, take its toll on ordinary society – happening slowly, subtly and almost unnoticed to start with. It’s called “the social media” so-called “connecting” people across the globe. Now I admit that social networks have done much to help find “lost” people and bring them together again. Of course, “everyone” is on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or one of the many others in a growing network of social media links.
Friends and family chat across continents at very little cost. I use WhatsApp groups for convenient communication all the time, especially with my family who are as far flung as the USA and Qatar. We have been able to find solutions and make decisions in emergency situations in a very short space of time which would have been impossible 20 years ago. That’s not what I am talking about.
Technological gadgets have both connected and disconnected people from one another. We have traded face-to-face interaction with those closest to us for conversations via a little device called a cell phone. Children and young people are more familiar with cell phones, play stations, TV and computer games than they are with their siblings’ faces. Each family member would rather play a computer game alone than a family game around the table. Some families has been so influenced by this toxic technology that they even take their meals alone in their personal space so that they can catch up with their game rather than sit around the meal table together and talk to one another.
This is another one of those ploys the enemy uses to thwart God’s plan for His people. God is social – three Persons; Father, Son and Holy Spirit in a close-knit fellowship of love and harmony, perfectly intertwined and interacting as one. He created the human race to resemble Him and to have fellowship with Him. He made us so like Him that we are able to participate in that circle of love and togetherness that the Trinity enjoys.
When man fell into sin by refusing to live under His authority, God already had a plan to restore everything to what He intended at the beginning. He came Himself to talk to us. He didn’t sent a text message from heaven. He came in the flesh and showed His love by dying for us. Jesus’ death made reconciliation possible – not only to God but to one another. The very word “communion” which is one of the names we give to the Lord’s Supper, implies that we come together to celebrate the event that made reconciliation with both God and one another possible.
Jesus made the impossible possible. He healed the deep rift of hatred and suspicion between Jew and Gentile by His death and brought about a new race – neither Jew nor Gentile but one in Himself.
For He Himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility by setting aside in His flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in Himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross by which He put to death their hostility. (Eph. 2: 14-16)
Tragically, in the name of “connection” we have traded gadgets for people. We are more connected to and familiar with our devices that we are with the people with whom we share our homes. Society is sick because society doesn’t know how to connect any more. What was the point of Jesus’ work on the cross to reconcile the members of the human race with one another again if we systematically destroy that bond by isolating ourselves from one another at the closest and most intimate level?
Conflicts remain unresolved because we hide on our ivory towers and leave our unfinished business to fester inside. We send emails and WhatsApp’s, we air our dirty washing on Facebook and Twitter, we give the world a blow-by-blow commentary of what we have done or what we are doing but our hearts remain cold, empty and lonely because we have not really connected with anyone in a meaningful expression of love. How can you hug another through a “device’?
The whole of human life should be about bonds and connectedness but our insistence on abusing technology, i.e., not using it for the purpose it was invented, is eroding the very fabric of society. When we have wronged another, instead of seeking face-to-face forgiveness, we hide behind a text message which saves us the embarrassment of humbling ourselves in the presence of the other and experiencing real reconciliation.
How much easier and more convenient it is to send an impersonal text message instead of climbing into the car and spending an hour or two with a friend or a family member.
Come on, church. Let us be the ones who recognise the trap of toxic technology and lead the way back to meaningful relationships by rebuilding the bonds and fostering fellowship in the family of God and in the world around us. Let’s talk face-to-face, not via a gadget that has no heart.
If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, His Son, purifies us from all sin. (1 John 1:7)
Scripture is taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
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