We live in a hyper-social society — however, the art of true socializing is all but gone. Families are fully immersed in their smartphones and disengaged with one another. People flock to Facebook before their alarm clock stops buzzing, and others are drawn to posting their life in photos for the entire world to view. What a paradox: we know what our dentist’s wife had for dinner, but we do not know her. Oh, the tangled webs we weave.
I wonder: what is the underlying reason why so many have the insatiable need to share — and overshare? Is it a desire to be fully known or a desire to hide who you really are? I am not a psychologist; I am a woman watching the way we communicate change daily. I am also a mother wanting relationships where substance abounds and my children know what genuine love looks like. True love has nothing to do with how many “friends” you have online. True love has everything to do with putting the needs of another above your own. True love has to do with knowing God and living a life in obedience to Him.
“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:36-40)
The question is: am I, in this Instagram-instant America so focused on sharing life that I am failing to live life? If the time we spent clicking through status updates was spent engaging with others in conversation (not via Twitter), how much more would people know they are loved — truly loved? God did not intend man to be alone and knows we thrive relationally. Guess what? Satan knows that too and, often, what can seem like a good thing is quite the opposite. Such is the case when we mask reality behind a screen. Clicking “share” does not mean you are sharing. We need to stop seeking approval from those who we do not even know and start seeking approval from the Lord. Satan is real, parents, and he really does want to isolate you and cause you to water down God’s truth. One of his best methods is by making things seem harmless to the point you do them without thinking and simultaneously ignore those things which matter most.
So, do you love your neighbor? Do you really know your neighbor? To know them you need to speak to them, engage with them, and live life looking people in the eye. Your smartphone does not love you. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram do not love you, and you are not loving others by “liking” a post or texting someone else while having a conversation with the person next to you. Close the screen, leave your phone in the car, and go have a meaningful conversation with another human being. And remember, the tiny people God has given you are human beings who need to be looked in the eye and loved as well. Love your neighbor as yourself.