When was the last time you held a meaningful conversation with someone in person? Your response might reveal more about the fragility of relationships than any other time in the history of the world.
Neil Armstrong, United States Astronaut, was well documented for being the first person to step onto the surface of the moon, as he triumphantly declared, “One small step for man; one giant leap for mankind.”
Who could have imagined the irony of such a simple statement as it relates to the dynamics of relationships in every culture around the world?
Historically, technological advancements have often been well received, yet uncertainty by late adopters has served as a necessary balance in the halls of debate.
Many books have been written about mans purpose, and it is my unwavering conviction that God created man and gave him a purpose based upon a series of personal relationships.
God designed the first relationship in man to be based upon a life of worship. It’s in this place of worship that mankind acknowledges his creator and lives joyfully within the balance for which he was created.
Many people today argue against this simple understanding for sake of religion, tolerance, or popular opinion; yet every human being is uniquely created in their personality, fingerprints, DNA, talents, and gifts.
Psalms 139:14, “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, and I know that full well.” (NIV)
It never ceases to amaze me of God’s divine order with his creation. Mankind was not expected to attend church every time the church doors were open, nor to sing praise and worship songs until the cows came home.
We were given a responsibility to establish and manage a series of personal relationships throughout life, which would enhance both our lives and the lives of those in our sphere of influence.
It’s in our personal sphere of influence, the Greek term oikos, where this story really begins.
Just 25 years ago, you would’ve been perceived as someone important if you had a pager, yet 20 years ago, you would’ve been even more important if you carried a large mobile telephone.
Since the introduction of the Internet, technologies have radically influenced the way people think, speak, and behave.
Decades ago, healthy relationships were measured by the model of a happily married father and mother in a household where families enjoyed regular meals together, respected their elders, and reserved the mystery of sexuality until marriage.
To say that times have changed would be an understatement in the history of understatements! The explosive combinations of peoples desire to become famous and social networks have created negative affects on relationships that are quickly becoming the norm.
Today, most people carry a cellular telephone, which many are equipped with access to the Internet and social network portals such as Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, or Twitter.
Initially, the allure of joining a social network portal was generally based upon finding friends, promoting a business, or identifying oneself with a global community of like-minded enthusiasts.
The level of effort required to setup oneself on a social network was often time consuming yet engaging, because after all, it is your life.
The more time and energy invested in getting your social network started meant the more often you’d find yourself logging on to see what other people were saying and doing.
Never before has anyone really cared if you were walking your dog, sitting on a lunch break, or watching the rain fall on the ground, yet all of a sudden it now seems to be relevant for whatever reason.
Social networks are now on the global scene to stay, and they have significantly influenced the way people communicate. Once passive personalities, are now boldly proclaiming statements they would never speak out loud to their own mothers.
The creative minds of young people have mastered new language barriers, which take advantage of limited broadcast space to declare their next global statement of legitimacy or ignorance.
There are literally billions of text messages, videos, and images that are broadcast daily around the world, yet fewer people than ever are actually spending time developing their core purpose—personal relationships.
If the truth be known, there are numerous parents everywhere sending text messages to their children instead of personally speaking with them—while they are merely a few steps away in another room; or the young man who breaks up with his girlfriend by updating the status of his social network account.
These examples of virtual relationships within close proximity are irresponsible at best, and pathetic excuses for not personally communicating with others who may or may not closely align with your personal views and convictions.
No technology will ever replace mans relationships, yet many people have been deceived that the reward is worth the risks.
No one gets to choose the people in their sphere of influence, we are literally born into it, whereas social networks allow you to setup controls over whom you allow into your sphere of influence.
I’m convinced every family has a “black sheep” relative that no one wants to talk about; they tend to visit during holidays or inopportune times, and always have something rude to say. If it weren’t for difficult people, we might never pray!
In an effort to streamline relationships through technology, we all bought into a better-broken version of ourselves through building kingdoms of friends in our social networks that we would never meet, lists of top friends—which exclude and annoy our lifelong family and friends, and impersonal updates about irrelevant information, which is at best uninteresting. Where will it all end?
The moral to this story might surprise you in that social networks are not the enemy, it’s problem rests in the choices we make as individuals.
I’ve always said, relationships are dirty business, and it requires us to roll up our sleeves and listen long before we start doing anything.
Could you refrain from checking your social-network status or email for 3-days? I’d like to challenge you today to write down all the names of people who are in your sphere of influence, then include a note on what you need to do this week to encourage them, preferably in person. Buckle up, this could get personal.
Until next time, Be encouraged.
I speak to hundreds of thousands of young adults, men, women, and couples annually on leadership, decision making, and relationships. Sometimes life has a way of being the antidote to life itself. If you’d like more information on this topic or how to bring me in as a speaker for your next event, please contact me. In the meantime, I encourage you to subscribe to my Tribe/Newsletter on my homepage. Post your comment below, Share my blogs with your friends on social media, and visit my website often for daily inspiration.