How is technology changing your relationships?
I don’t want you to miss the significance of this question. I’m serious. I want you to really think about it, not just generally as some social problem in our changing world but as something that affects you, your life, your relationships. To help you think through this question, let me share a litmus test I use.
This standard reminds me of how I aspire to love and serve those around me and of what it means to love, really love, and not just to like. After applying this standard, I can better determine whether technology is helping or hindering how well I am loving other people.
A quiet little scene from Jesus’ life turns up the volume on how we love each other. During his final Passover meal with his disciples, what we often call the Last Supper, and just before one of his closest friends and followers, Judas, betrayed him, Jesus washed his disciples’ feet (see John 13:1–17).
I cannot emphasize enough how significant this act was. Just think about it: washing a person’s feet was the job of a servant or slave. People of nobility and wealth had servants to perform menial tasks like this. Imagine the master coming home and calling from the front door for a servant to come and wash his feet so he wouldn’t track filth from the streets into his home. The servant’s position was the one Jesus chose to place himself in. Jesus—the very Son of God—washed the feet of not even nobles but twelve rowdy, dirty-footed guys.
Jesus was demonstrating his love for them and his commitment to them. He wanted to make it clear that he did not consider himself too high and mighty to do one of the most menial, most personal tasks one person can do for another. Not surprisingly, here’s what Jesus said after the meal: “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:34–35).
It’s important to consider not just what Jesus said but even what he didn’t say. Notice he said that “everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
Jesus didn’t say “everyone will know that you are my disciples if you have perfect theology.” Certainly good theology is important, but it’s not how the world will be able to see that we follow Christ.
Jesus didn’t say “everyone will know that you are my disciples if you attend church regularly.” Does this mean we don’t need to go to church? Of course not! We’re supposed to spend time together to encourage each other in the things of God (Heb. 10:24–25). But going to church isn’t what shows the world that we follow Jesus either.
The way they will know we are his disciples—according to Jesus—is how we love one another. He set the example for us himself by washing his disciples’ feet, an act of absolute humility. We should treat one another in ways that show that the sacrificial love of Jesus lives inside our hearts. That’s how the world will know that we are his disciples.
And that’s how we will know if technology is in its proper place in our lives: by how well we love one another. It’s hard to wash someone’s feet with a phone in your hand.
So be honest with yourself as you listen for God’s voice. Are you sending emails when phone calls would be more meaningful? Are you typing a quick text when a personal visit would deeply impact a loved one? Have you unintentionally neglected to use your gifts to serve others because you are hoping others’ Likes will serve your need to be noticed? When was the last time you actually snail-mailed a handwritten birthday card or thank-you note instead of simply texting because it was easier?
Jesus has something better for us. Maybe it’s time to put down the device and pick up a towel to serve.
Taken from #Struggles: Following Jesus in a Selfie-Centered World by Craig Groeschel Copyright © 2015 by Craig Groeschel. Used by permission of Zondervan.
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