God did not create us to live in a bubble or vacuum, he created us to be part of the body of Christ and have fellowship with one another. He created us to interact with other human beings. He created Adam and realized that one being was not sufficient for growth, hence the creation of Eve. He created an immaculate relationship between himself and man. Their sin of not listening to God (conversations about the Does and Don’ts) led to the fall and their estrangement from the Garden of Eden. This is the moment man became alienated from God.
“I have become estranged from my brothers and an alien to my mother’s brothers.”
In swept the 21st century and the advent of social media as a norm. Not all norms support personal or spiritual growth. As we become more addicted to life online, we begin to (only) find satisfaction in cursory relationships, human interaction becomes secondary. Verbal communication becomes infrequent unless we are in forced social settings such as school or work where interaction, teamwork, and meetings require you to hold a conversation. We are quickly becoming estranged from other people and going down the wormhole of alienation from everything, other people, family, and Christ. Once you are locked into your addiction, nothing else matters.
Verbal communication creates a dynamic environment where people practice the characteristics of Christ; kindness, honesty, faithfulness, trustworthiness, compassion, forgiveness, commitment, patience, gentleness, self-control, humility, loving and prayerful. Verbal communications create a form of harmony between neighbors. True reconciliation can only be accomplished when we acknowledge our sin and repent asking God’s forgiveness.
“ Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble.”
When we move away from real human interaction and into the world of a limited number of characters and meme’s, we find that we create versions of ourselves that are often ruthless, arrogant, diabolical, self-obsessed, and dangerous. We create alternate self-images. Bullying becomes comfortable, there is no guilt in this setting, life, and death are reset and/or erased. At some point, we lose the ability to comfortably interact with people on a daily basis and begin to ease into an estranged and self-imposed isolation and alienation from others.
We find that the people on the other end of the smart chat, the game, and the community groups are pretending to be someone they aren’t. Their world becomes a fake world, much like fake news. It is created in Petri dishes, which leads to depression and often suicidal tendencies.
The most deadly trait we lose is that of being prayerful. We neglect our relationship with our Lord and soon become estranged. Not because he does not want to communicate with us, but because we shut him out. We reject our relationship with him, it is not the reverse. We begin to live in a world of isolation.
Alienation is the mother that gives birth to other alienation’s: the alienation between God and man, man and God. (Ferguson)
Isolation opens us up to spiritual attack. Sin, depression, selfishness, anger, and hate become comforting.
“Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me.”
Christians should never isolate themselves from other believers. The church is built on community. Through community, we establish corporate prayer. Through corporate prayer, we establish a relationship with other members of the community and God. Our world becomes more welcoming when we support one another and establish a norm we lost when society changed from small-town life to city life. We lost a sense of connectedness that some think is reignited in online social and gaming communities. The truth remains that they are alienated from the World, isolated from their family members and estranged from God.
“And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone.”
Let us encourage the disheartened and lost to re-enter life and reconcile with our Lord, the guardian of our souls. ‘Alienation from God is not only real but dangerous-and the depth of the alienation is evidenced by the fact that we think we are in no danger at all.’ (Ferguson, Ligonier Ministries)
Images from Google Images