Yesterday, I read an article about a photographer who is documenting the death of real-life conversations. He does not own a smart phone but takes his camera with him almost everywhere and captures life as he goes. In a photo series he titled Death of a Conversation, he captures people connecting with their devices when they could be connection with each others. The author of the article comments that this is, “a phenomenon he believes is only creating more pain and social awkwardness to the world.”
This sentence stood out to me. The whole article is worth a read. But this statement captures the problem with our devices.
When Jesus instructs us to pray we are told to pray that, “your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Whose kingdom? God’s Kingdom. God’s kingdom if a place where pain bothers us no longer and I doubt there is social awkwardness there. So if we are praying for that kingdom and if we are people of that kingdom (see Phil 3:20) we should be working to bring that kingdom to earth. We should be working to alleviate pain and make people feel comfortable, not socially awkward.
Sure, I know you may feel socially awkward too and are using our phone as something to hide behind, but that is not how a Christian should live. “For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” 2 Timothy 1:7. If you are using your device as security blanket or something to hide behind, maybe it is time for you to pray, “Lord give me boldness.” And his power can come into you and do amazing things!
There is another major issue this article caused me to think about. Missions. The last thing Jesus told his disciples to do was go and make disciples. That commanded applies to us today. We are called to be go and make disciples. You cannot make disciples if there are no conversations. You cannot make disciples if the people around you feel unloved because you are care more about what is going on in the virtual world inside your phone than in their lives. You cannot make disciples when there is a barrier between you and them, and something that is roughly two inches by four inches and who knows how thin is enough of a barrier to close the door for you.
Brothers and Sisters in Christ, this is a serious problem. I fear that our devices have gotten in the way of our carrying out the last command our Savior gave us.
When we stand before God’s judgement throne will we hear “Well done thou good and faithful servant.” Or will we be reproved for the conversations we did not have and the divine appointments we missed because a device was in front of our face?
So, put your stupid phone into your pocket and look up. Who is God bringing in front of your path? Next time you are somewhere that other people are, be brave enough to turn off your device and start a conversation. Maybe that conversation will result in someone’s salvation or be the encouragement they need to keep living for Christ. Would you trade that conversation for a chance to read Facebook status, browse an article, or play a game?