Distracted

Distracted

by Katrina Goodrich

 

So many of us are constantly bombarded with phone calls, texts, feed updates, tweets, and whatever other sorts of social media to which we subscribe. As Christians we should be even more conscious of what we say and do on and offline since it might be at the top of someone’s newsfeed the next day.

While an off-hand post made by you—or by someone about you—can damage your witness to those who do not yet know the love of Christ, I think there is something even more dangerous that Christians are beginning to fall prey to: becoming consumed by technology.

It’s so easy to abuse technology and become addicted, so addicted that you miss what’s going on right in front of you. We can view technology as our best friend, and then use it as a substitute for human interaction.

For example, some friends decide to go for dinner. They sit down in their booth, order their food, and eat their meal, but are relatively quiet, despite not having seen each other in some time. They’re sitting maybe three feet apart—cell phones out, tweeting, checking updates, responding to texts and emails, looking up the score to a game, checking the news, etc. They might even be texting one another!

This is a pretty extreme example but it happens, much more frequently than you might imagine. How often have you been with friends or family, at work or at church, and dropped everything to answer a non-essential phone call or text?

How many times have you gotten sucked into a computer game, lost track of time, and before you knew it spent several hours online playing when you had other things to do? Of course this is after you told yourself you’d just take “a few minutes” and have a “short break.”

Christians are called to be proof of God’s love and grace to this world. Our lives are supposed to be evidence of God reaching across the divide of sin and pulling us to Him.

We, likewise, should be reaching toward others so that they too can experience the love of God. But it’s far more likely that we’re reaching for our cell phones. We use technology to communicate, but we also use it as a substitute for communicating and interacting with others. In doing so we miss out on opportunities to fulfill Jesus’ command to spread His love.

Many people wouldn’t notice you answering texts; some might not even consider it rude or out of the ordinary. Being addicted to technology is a part of today’s self-centric norm.

But consider what might happen if you turned off your cell phone or computer when you were with other people and really focused on only them—making eye contact and responding to them on a personal level, caring enough about others to put aside distractions and reach out to them. I think people would be pleasantly surprised to see someone hopping off their “cloud” to interact with them. It would certainly be different and maybe, hopefully, intriguing.

I would like to issue a challenge to you for the coming year. Identify ways that technology might be getting in the way of you personally showing God’s love to others and minimize to distractions. If you’ve already got your technology addiction under control or never had one to begin with, find a new way to share God’s love using technology constructively for His purposes. Technology isn’t all bad, and it affords many exciting opportunities Christians could be utilizing to spread the truth.

Learn to view technology as the tool that it is, rather than as a substitute for interacting with creation.

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