Hiding Behind a Screen

Posted: September 27, 2017 by keystoneyouth in Digital Detox Lessons
Tags: , , , , , ,

Screen Shot 2017-08-31 at 1.16.20 PM

Attention Funnel:

  • When was it invented? (Boys vs. Girls)
  • Technology often has the ability to either connect us as humans… or to isolate us from one another.
    • TV – I can find out what is happening around the world, but I can use it to avoid spending time with other people.
    • Video Games – I can play a game with people who are on the other side of the world – while also sitting in my room and ignoring my family.
    • Our phones can connect us with people all over the place, while ignoring the people right in front of us.

Big Idea: We can use technology to ignore one another.

 Main Points:

  • We can use technology to avoid one another.
  • We can ignore the humanity of other people.
  • Face-to-face is better then a screen.

We can use technology to avoid one another.

  • The first part of the story of the Parable of the Good Samaritan tells about a man who is traveling from one city to another. You would have to travel by walking and to walk along certain roads would be very dangerous.
  • The traveling man gets mugged, pistol whipped, kicked, beaten with a brick, and left to die alongside the road.
    • Several teeth are missing, bones have been broken, there is blood caked on his head, and he is passing in and out of consciousness.
  • Why do the Priest and Levite simply walk by on the other side of the road?
    • Why do I ignore other people who need help? Why do I turn a blind eye to other people when they are in the same room as me? Why do I not even acknowledge the existence of someone at school, at youth group, at work?
  • Video of Homeless Man 
  • It is more comfortable for me, and easier for me to avoid other people who are needy or who are unlike me. And smartphones and technology, perhaps make it easier than ever to do this.
  • We don’t interact with people if we think it’s going to be awkward.
    • Our phones can be a shield that protects us from anything that might be uncomfortable for us.
    • A child and his blanket. A child might carry blanket everywhere he goes because it offers him a sense of security, familiarity, and comfort as he goes out into the unknown world.
    • Our phones can become our adult safety blankets. They offer us a sense of security, familiarity, and comfort,
    • All we have to do, is pull out our screen and immediately we have an excuse. “I’m too busy to talk to you, I have other more important things to do right here on my screen.”
    • Just as the Priest and Levite surely thought, “I’m too busy to deal with this man, I have other more important things to get too.”
  • Apply: Don’t use your phone to ignore your most immediate neighbor.

We can ignore the humanity of other people.

  • Why does the Samaritan stop? – Compassion
  • The Samaritan is able to see himself in the shoes on the man alongside the road.
  • He’s able to think, “What if that were me? That could just as easily be me.”
  • This is what compassion is all about… It’s the ability to put ourselves in the shoes of someone else, and then act in a certain way.
  • Compassion is the backbone of loving our neighbors as ourselves.
  • Here is where we need to stop and realize how shocking this story is.
    • Here is what this scene might look like today…. A White man with a shaved head and swastikas on his arms gets into a car to head to a white supremacist rally. Along the way, he loses control of his car and careens off the highway into the woods hitting a tree head on. Cars drive by without ever thinking to stop, until eventually an SUV stops. Out hops a large black man wearing a Black Lives Matter T-Shirt. He was also headed to the same destination, but in order to protest the rally. He walks over to the car, sees the man’s bloody face, sees his broken leg, and notices a large swastika on his arm. He immediately dials 911 and asks for an ambulance. He stays with the man when the ambulance arrives. He follows the ambulance to the hospital. He sits by the man’s bed for the next 3 days, talking to the man, caring for him, and making sure that he is getting better.
  • Why would someone ever do that?
    • Because he sees in that moment as he stares at the man his own face bloodied. He sees his own body broken.
    • He has compassion.
  • As Christian’s we believe everyone is made in the image of God. Everyone is valuable and deserves to be treated with respect and love. Everyone is more like us, then they are unlike us.
  • Apply:
    • With technology, we have the ability to insulate ourselves… we can surround ourselves with people just like us, who look like us, talk like us, and think like us. It’s like talking to ourselves. And anyone who is too different, we can block, unfriend, or just avoid.
    • With technology, we also have the ability to demonize people who are not like us without ever getting to know them. We see what they post or write… and we immediately lump them into a certain group.
    • Caveat: We can use technology to befriend, follow, and get to know people who are different then us (HOWEVER, especially as a teenager, don’t accept friend requests from those who you don’t already recognize). 

Face-to-face is better than a screen.

  • In the Parable of the Good Samaritan, Jesus is ultimately the Good Samaritan.
    • And we are the ones sitting alongside the road, bloodied, bruised, broken, passing in an out of consciousness, and helpless.
    • But Jesus comes for us… the ones who hate him.
      • He doesn’t right a message in the sky (“Call 911”)
      • He doesn’t send a picture with directions of where to find us.
    • He, as God, puts on flesh, crosses heaven and earth, and comes to us in spite of all that it is going to cost him – his very life.
    • Jesus coming to save us as a man, forever tells us that face-to-face relationship is what we were designed for.
  • All communication through technology cuts off some part of what it means to be human.
    • Phones, I can hear you, but I can’t see you.
    • Message, now I can read your words, but I can’t even hear the sound of your voice.
    • Skype/Facetime – I can see and hear you, but I never make eye contact with you.
    • We need to work to develop our face-to-face interactions with other people… even when it’s awkward and hard.
  • We say things over a screen that we would never say in person.
    • It’s far easier for us to say things that are hurtful and damaging over a screen then it is in person.
    • Ex. Personal example of doing this in my own life.
  • Apply: As a rule, we need to stop and ask ourselves before we hit send or post, “Would I say this if they were standing right in front of me?”
    • And even better, “Is this the most loving thing to say to them?”
    • Screens make it far easier for us to say and do things that are harmful and hurtful, without ever thinking twice.

So What??

  • Don’t allow technology to isolate you from the people right in front of you.
  • Prioritize face-to-face interactions… even when they are hard.
  • Resist the urge to be on your phone when you are around other people.
  • Spend time getting to know and interact with those who are different then you.


  • Do you think technology helps us to be more connected with one another or keeps us more isolated from one another? Why?
  • Can you give an example of how technology might increase our compassion for people?
  • Where have you seen misunderstandings happen because of communication through technology?
  • What is something that bothers you about how you or other people use phones?
  • What ways have you seen people use social media negatively?

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