Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep (Rom. 12:15).
One of the biggest downsides to the mushrooming use of social media is that it is a terrible medium over which to communicate emotions.
According to an article from FaithTech, “The generation that was all but born with a device in their hand — 18–24 year olds — are four times as likely to feel lonely “most of the time” compared to those over 70.” (https://medium.com/faithtech/does-social-media-connect-or-disconnect-us-8aa232a5be07)
This is because while we are communicating words, we are not connecting – emotionally. “Lang et. al (1998) studied our visual cortex in relation to emotional processing. The Participants were in an fMRI scanner and saw emotional or neutral pictures. Lang found that for emotional pictures there was more activation of the visual cortices. They concluded that emotional processing begins with vision.”(https://www.everydayhealth.com/emotional-health/how-build-emotional-connection/)
We need to see peoples’ faces, their eyes, their body language in order to read emotions. Seeing a sad-face emoji just doesn’t cut it. This goes both ways. If you want to have meaningful relationships and feel connected to and be a part of others’ lives, it needs to start with visual communications. If you want to reach out and support another person emotionally, they need to see you.
Years ago, i heard a man of God relate a story in which he was in another country preaching daily for a week. During the week, a young woman would always sneak in the door after everyone else sat down and then sneak out at the end of the service – no one knew she was there except the preacher who saw this happen. On the last day, he acted like there was a momentary break in the service and he left the pulpit and sneaked around to the front and approached the girl. She admitted to her behavior, but said she didn’t want to talk to anyone because the religious people there would judge her for her past choices. She told him one of the things she had done, and this preacher started crying, the terrible sadness of the event that the girl related tore his heart in two. When he collected himself, she looked him in the eye and said that since he cried for her, she would listen to what he had to say.
If you are lonely, reach out to people – people who are in your presence and with whom you can truly find critical emotional connection – and do this daily! If you are someone who wants to impact the people around you in a deep and meaningful way, spend time in their presence.
We live in a world of disconnected lonely people. Don’t let yourself be one of them and don’t let other get sucked into it either.
“To love another person is to see the face of God” (Jean Valjean in Les Miserables). On the evening before He was arrested Jesus said, by this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another. (John 13:35). Show the world the face of God… love one another.
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If you want to read more of my thoughts, visit my blog: https://www.jimshaul.org