The Social Media Curse

Jacob looked up and there was Esau, coming with his four hundred men; so he divided the children among Leah, Rachel and the two female servants.  He put the female servants and their children in front, Leah and her children next, and Rachel and Joseph in the rear.  He himself went on ahead and bowed down to the ground seven times as he approached his brother.
But Esau ran to meet Jacob and embraced him; he threw his arms around his neck and kissed him.  And they wept.

  • Genesis 33:1-4

“You can see for yourselves, and so can my brother Benjamin, that it is really I who am speaking to you.  Tell my father about all the honor accorded me in Egypt and about everything you have seen.  And bring my father down here quickly.”
Then he threw his arms around his brother Benjamin and wept, and Benjamin embraced him, weeping.  And he kissed all his brothers and wept over them.  Afterward his brothers talked with him.

  • Genesis 45:12-15

I looked up “hug” in the Biblegateway.com search engine for the NIV, and I got a couple dozen references to “huge” and only one hugging of rocks in Job.  Then I tried “embrace.”  With Jacob and his older twin brother Esau and the sons of Jacob, Joseph and Benjamin, their time apart had been a long time in each case.  Regardless of their differences and arguments, love won the day and they embraced.  The touched one another.  They made eye contact.

Honest, I was thinking of writing something about this and then Rev. David Robertson, the Wee Flea, wrote the post found at this LINK.  Also, in one of his Kitchen Table discussions with Stephen McAlpine, he mentions that he has 5,000 friends.  He would have more, but Facebook will not allow him to increase his friendships beyond 5,000.  Of course, he follows that with the fact that maybe only two or three of those 5,000 would accept a call from him at 3:00 o’clock in the morning because he felt down.  Only one or two might help him move.  So, what is the point of having 5,000 friends when they are not “friends?”

NOTE: I have since watched The Social Dilemma. It is very good and more than a little scary.

He is writing in the linked post about a Netflix film that I may soon watch, but I have not watched it.  I am sure the research will show what I already fear.

There are advertisements, and I have seen it in pockets of real life, where everyone is sitting around a kitchen table, looking at their phones, with their thumbs flying, having a conversation with the other people at the table.  Fear #1:  Will we “evolve” (really devolve) to the point where we no longer can talk, but we will have extremely large, powerful thumbs?  Answer: If we do, I would be dead by then and it is someone else’s problem…

Another issue:  I have two or three “friends” on Facebook that I have no earthly idea who they are.  Fear #2:  Will it be awkward when I meet them?  Answer:  If here on earth, YES.  If in Heaven, it might be a conversation starter.

Don’t get me started on Twitter.  I said, don’t get me started…  Okay, tweets are usually rather inane.  WOW!!  That was hard to be that kind!!!  You have very few letters in which to make a point.  People who read my posts will know that would be impossible for me.  I follow Beth Moore, David Jeremiah, Brenton Dickieson, and a few others who are great at saying ten words and leaving you wanting more.  I feel that for me to write what I write in such a few words, I would have to wait for all the marbles in my brain to disappear and then when the last marble left gets stuck in my left earhole, I might still have too many words to say to fit it on Twitter.  “Welcome to the New World, people.”  Rats!!  Too long?!?!?!  Let’s change that to “Welc…”

If you have read my posts for more than a year, you know that I have challenged people on several occasions to THINK!  Not THIMK, THINK!!!

I think we also need to meet other people face to face and have a conversation, looking at eyeballs, not screens.  Even with masks being worn, we can learn the skills of reading the other person’s emotions by the expressions of their eyes.  Early in the mask-wearing days, I told a pharmacy tech that I loved her smile.  She said, “How can you tell?”  I said, “I can see it in your eyes, and it was a lovely smile indeed.”  Her eyes softened, but just for a second.  Then she asked, “Can you tell when I stick my tongue out at you!?”  We both laughed at that.  We need more of that!!!!

To add to what Rev. Robertson suggests, we need to call up our neighbor, at a reasonable hour, and see if they need help doing something and actually help them.  For those who have never done that, that is what a real friend does.

Think about it!  Social media “friends” are not friends.  Most of my social media friends are either people at the church where I attend or high school classmates, but NONE of them would be at my door at 3:00am in the morning if I needed help.  One or two might, MIGHT, call the ambulance for me and go back to bed and fall asleep without wondering if the ambulance arrived.  NONE would visit me in the hospital.  I have only spent one night in the hospital with no visitors.  But when my wife had open-heart surgery, the pastor visited twice; our Sunday school teacher, now passed away, visited once; and a couple about our age who became friends when I first moved to Pennsylvania visited once.  Oddly, of the flowers, another local couple sent flowers and a couple in Tennessee whom we had only met two years before sent flowers.  I feel that the Tennessee couple might have visited in the hospital if they were closer than a day’s drive each way.  Between the hospital and the rehab center, my wife was hospitalized for about three weeks, and her visitors could be counted on one hand.  A few, not all, but a few of her family texted.  But in their defense, I think one sister passed on messages to everyone else.

We spend too much time on the computer screen.  Please, do not stop reading this now.  I know that was a dangerous statement.  Everyone who reads my posts for a long time has been introduced to “Deviled Yeggs.”  Let me give you a story, okay a little snippet.

Detective Sergeant Deviled Yeggs and his partner, Jim Wednesday, approached the house and Deviled got on the bullhorn.  “Slowly step away from the computer screen!  Slowly step away from the screen!  Put your hands out to your sides so that I can see that they are empty!  Now slowly, turn and face me.”  The person at the computer did as he was commanded by the police detective sergeant.

Then Deviled said to his son, Easter Yeggs, “I want to see you.  I want to look you in the eye and then give you a hug.”

Then Easter asked, “But why is your partner, Jim, here – with his weapon drawn?”

“He is here to make sure that I don’t squeeze too tight.”  Then Deviled and his son hugged one another as if it had been years since their last encounter.  Jim holstered his service revolver and looked away.

I know in some places, you might get arrested for breaking such social distance boundaries with people outside your family, but with those boundaries in place, it becomes even more imperative that we socialize in person.

If we settle on contact with others via electronic devices, our society will crumble.  In fact, the present rioting in our cities would be much less if we were able to rid ourselves of the masks and show one another our love toward them.

And Lord, let us truly love one another.  It is truly hard when work, school, and church is done over a computer screen and a cellphone, but we need human contact.  Soon, before we lose those skills entirely.

Soli Deo Gloria.  Only to God be the Glory.

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