Because I am a public figure – having ministered in hundreds of churches all across the nation and having nearly twenty books published – some people know a lot about me. They’ve heard me talk about my family. They have read about my life and background. As a result, it is not at all unusual for someone to walk up to me and start talking as though we’re old friends. Although we’ve never met, they act like we have known each other for a very long time. The problem is that I know nothing about them at all. And, honestly, they know only a few things that I have chosen to reveal to anyone who reads my writings. My real friends know far more about me. There’s the issue. There is no actual relationship.
Relationship – true relationship – is built on time spent together. We cannot have a close personal relationship with someone with whom we never spend any time. It is possible, of course, to think we have an actual relationship with our 2,000 Facebook friends, but we don’t. Oh, we may know more about those people than we otherwise would have without social media, but that still doesn’t mean we have a true relationship. If we don’t spend time together, laugh together, hurt together, cry together, discuss, learn, argue, encourage, dream, enjoy – experience life together – without those kinds of interactions, we can’t really experience relationship. And those things can’t happen, certainly nowhere close to their full potential, on social media. It has to be real-life, real-time interaction.
That’s part of the beauty of living in biblical community. God works through real relationships with people around us. Rough edges get sanded down. Sharp corners start to get rounded off. Deep cracks and crevices begin to get filled in. But those things cannot happen in a vacuum. If we isolate ourselves from others, then we miss the benefits that relationships bring to our own lives. We need interaction with others in order for God to fully have His way in us.