As I write this, the country is rebooting at the tail end of the coronavirus pandemic. For about 10 weeks now, we’ve been attending church virtually via Zoom. The upside of these Zoom church services is that apparently many more people have been watching than ever attended a church. The downside of the Zoom church services is the absence of face-to-face communication, fellowship, and communal worship. Virtual relationships just don’t cut it!
Face-to-face communication is so important to building deep and lasting relationships. So much of communication is non-verbal. A warm handshake, a hand on the shoulder, or a hug say so much more than we can express through words. All these require in-person relationships.
But technology and modern culture seem to elevate efficiency over intimacy. Voicemail, text messages, Facebook, and emails may expedite communications, but in reality they distance us from others. It’s almost like we are avoiding personal contact with people.
Sometimes, we’d rather let a call go to voicemail, just so we don’t have to deal with the caller right now. A text message may be less invasive, but it is even less personal and sometimes opens the door for misunderstanding.
Let’s face it, relationships are messy. We’ve all had tough interpersonal exchanges and we all know people we’d rather not socialize with. Nevertheless, relationships are vital to our living and growing in Christ. In fact, I would go so far as to say that without relationships, we cannot grow in Christ! Jesus died to reconcile our relationships with the Father. Now that we have been reconciled with Him, He asks us to reconcile with each other.
God designed humans for relationship with Him and with each other. When God created man, He declared, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for Him.” (Genesis 2:18) All the Ten Commandments have to do with relationships — toward God and toward other people. And nearly all the fruit of the Spirit are relational. (See Galatians 5:22–23.)
God made us for intimacy, communication, and fellowship. I challenge us to look at our own lives. How have we disconnected? Let’s not so isolate ourselves with the latest gadgets that we forget the power of the spoken word, the importance of a hug, a pat on the back, and the value of sharing our stories and testimonies… face-to-face.
The writer of Hebrews urges, “Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another — and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:24–25)
Scripture Reading: Romans 12:3–8
Take a few minutes and evaluate how you communicate with people. Do you lean toward efficiency over intimacy? If so, adjust your habits to get real face-time in with people and especially with your loved ones.
Jim Grassi, D. Min.
We cherish any verse in Scripture that reminds us to keep focused and intentional about evangelism and discipleship. “But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.” 2 Timothy 4:5