Chaplain’s Chat

RING, RING… It’s for you…

I was sitting at a Café the other day and looked around all the people and noticed that their faces were glowing. Their faces were glowing from the ambient light of their mobile phones. It was an interesting sight to see people of all ages out for dinner sitting at the table, all on their phones.

A couple of nights later my wife and I were heading out and as she got in the car I was texting my brother. My wife said that I always mumble when I type on my phone. I apologised and suggested it was to make her feel a part of the conversation. The truth is I was just trying to string a few sentences together. But then I thought about it a bit more. What message is this sending to my wife… it may suggest that she is of lesser importance than the message that I am typing. How hard would it have been for me to have waited until we got home?

Are our phones the main cause of distraction from the people who need our attention? I believe they are. On one hand I can quickly become frustrated at people using their phones instead of engaging but then I go ahead and then do the same thing. I use my phone for email and texting like the best of them.

There is nothing wrong with using our phones – as long as we can remember to invest time in our relationship with Jesus and each other. God created us for community, and God Himself exists in community as God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Our little—or not so little—phones keep us connected in our day-to-day lives. But are they really the foundation of all connections? Actually, I think that phones can quickly become a distraction and cause us to disengage from people who are in the same room as us.

From Matthew 22:38-40, Jesus said that loving God and loving others was the greatest of all the commands of God. So, next time that our pocket devices call for our attention, can I suggest some questions to ask of ourselves:

  • Am I putting others before myself right at this moment?
  • How can I love the people that are with me if I am not giving them the attention they deserve?
  • What if Jesus wants to use me to serve others, but I’m paying attention to my phone?

Our world won’t crash down around us if we don’t reply immediately to that text or that email. We can connect better and love people better when we give them our full attention. If you wanted to think about it in a biblical way, you could almost imagine Jesus saying…

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s phone for friend. (A re-write of John 15:13).

Four ways to stay away from your phone in 2018

  1. Turn off your phone, leave it at home or in the car. Have some time away from the blue light.
  2. Ask someone else about their life. Take the focus off your life.
  3. Look for an opportunity to give someone encouragement.
  4. Ask for the help of Jesus to keep us engaged with the ones we love.

Taking the time to focus on others requires a fair amount of sacrifice. We have to give up our own desires and comforts. But in the end, you’ll be surprised how much good it does your heart and the hearts of those around us.

-Simon Hutton, Chaplain