“For as in one body we have many members, and not all the members have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are members one of another.” (Romans 12:4-5)
We are living in truly remarkable times. Here in America, we have the means to be connected to one another more accessibly, and excessively, than ever before. Thanks to social media, we can share our most intimate thoughts with the entire world and receive instantaneous feedback from anywhere around the globe. The responsibility that comes with that ability is incredible.
And yet with this connectivity, most of us are lonelier than ever.
Social media, in many ways, can actually become anti-social. By framing our concept of one another as just a username on a computer screen, we dehumanize each other. In doing so, we lose connection to the other, and image that we convey our words, be they encouraging or damning, not to a person but to a program. We lose sight of the experiences of other real people, and thus lose sight of our own humanity as well.
St. Paul expressed the ultimate nature of humanity in the scripture passage above; we are made to be interdependent. We’ve heard it said that “no one is an island” and this is as true today as ever. Yet we live as though each of us are individual, independent entities, without the need for other real human interaction. We’ve substituted friendship for “friends,” love for “likes,” and ended up socially impoverished in the age of social media.
Instead of our rampant, rabid independence, we might reconsider what it means to be “members one of another.” Your words and actions contribute to the world around you. You are created to be a part of this living organism called the “body of Christ,” to contribute to the flourishing of others with your very life.
It will take more than typing a response to a news story or commenting on a photo to engender that kind of connection. It will take looking into the eyes of another and seeing there the eyes of Christ reflected. And when you remember the basic humanity and divinity of the other, you then will rediscover your own nature as well.
Cody Nygard, Director of Discipleship and Connection