Today, we are pretty attached to our mobile phones. Through them, we can text, call, facebook, tweet, tumble, blog and do ten million other things. We communicate through technology and sometimes that can be a helpful way to send information to someone, to tell them about an event, to ask a question or to make a time for a meeting, we can also use electronic communication to send ideas, thoughts and encouragements.
The epistles we see in the New Testament constantly surprise me, and in my scattered Bible reading recently, I read through 1, 2 and 3 John. The 2nd and 3rd letters are short and sweet. What stuck out to me though was one phrase that seems to be something God is trying to get across to me in anyway he can… and well, in every way. His word reveals him, and his will. It says this:
I have much to write to you, but I do not want to use paper and ink. Instead, I hope to visit you and talk with you face to face, so that our joy may be complete. (2 John 12)
There is a lot to say. John has a whole load of things he wants to talk to them about and yet he keeps his letter short and wants to wait until he sees them face to face. Yes, he wrote a letter, but today there is something to be learnt… There is a time and a place for communication over a distance, and there is a time and a place for face to face interaction and we should learn to discern the difference between them. Here is my simple policy at the moment…
Information can be most practically and clearly communicated over a distance. Conversations can be most effectively and openly had face to face. These two belong in their place. I’m not trying to say this is what the Scriptures prescribe for us, but I am thinking that God’s intent for us – relationally – is that we actually interact with each other. The church laid hands on people to pray. They ate meals together. The body of Christ is not an abstract thing when we come together to live as the body.
Maybe sometimes you need to ignore your phone and have a conversation. Face to face.
Maybe I need to do the same.