Do you hear me?

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Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.  And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Colossians 3:12-17

It happens all the time… I am sitting in the room with a bunch of teenagers and everyone of them is on their phone, iPod, or other device.  One of them might be talking to the group but in general students today are constantly on a device either with twitter, txt messaging, snap chat or some other electronic from of communication.

The problem isn’t just teenagers. We younger adults and increasingly older adults are getting into the habit.  In fact if I am honest, I am just as bad if not worse than most of the teenagers I work with.  My kids have looked at me with those oh so beautiful eyes and said “Dad will you stop playing on your phone and play with me.” My heart breaks a little every time they say it.

Maybe you can relate, maybe you aren’t there yet, but we all need to struggle with the damage we are doing to our relationships when we don’t communicate in person.  We are so busy trying to communicate with every person on the planet instead of the person sitting across the room.

For all of us in youth ministry but more importantly for all of use as fellow Christians.  We need to be better at this communication thing.  The problem with electronic communication is it is so easy to miss read people and or not hear and see the pain and struggle they may be going through.  It is so much easier to speak ill of people when it is in electronic form instead of speaking to them in person.  These forms of communication are causing many of us to be very mean and hurtful. It is damaging our Christian community and everyday lives.

So what can we do…

We could take our computers, smart phones, iPods, etc. and chuck them out the window into the snow.  I know your heart just skipped a beat. It really isn’t very realistic anyway.  These forms of communication do have a great benefit.  The problem is that if we only use this form we never really know people. When we miss that face to face talking with someone we cannot possibly know them or understand them.  (ask the kid from Notre Dame.)

So who is it in your life you are ignoring or hurting?  Who are you only speaking to on twitter, facebook or txt? How can you show them love and compassion by actually being with them. How can you bring reconciliation to a situation by being in the situation.  I know it is a challenge for all of us myself included but it is a challenge we must all take seriously if we are to forgive and bear each other burdens. To help bring hope to our relationships and lives together.

Still trying to figure out this Christian life, while living in Christ’s grace.

Steve Wilson

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