07 Jun We Are Made To Be Social Beings
Now I could sense some of us are relieved that circuit breaker is over, but how are we going to deal with this “new normal” so to speak? Well, our country is still not loosening its grips too much. We still have to observe a few phrases of restriction, and staying at home has kinda become comfortable for some of us.
Now, I’ve been hearing commentators and analysts saying that things will never be the same again even after COVID-19. People are used to working at home, some are seeing the benefits of not commuting to work. Or people could be emotionally and mentally not prepared for socializing, as we’ve been keeping to ourselves and family for the past few months. Just about a month ago, there was a survey saying that 90 per cent of employees here in Singapore wish to continue working from home. So we kind of concluded things will really not be the same. And probably even church believers might get accustomed to online church going forward. I mean I could see people are trying to analyze the social psychology of people around the world, as “social distancing” are being programmed into everyone now. Now what’s your take on this my brethren?
Now my take is that is not going to happen, at least for those who are not taken in by such suggestions. Let me tell you why. Simply because we’re created by God to be social beings. Now, do you realized that after God created the world, God repeatedly said he saw everything was good and finally very good. But the first time God gave a negative connotation was when God said: “It is not good for the man to be alone.”<Genesis 2:18> There was nothing that could replace the love and interaction man needs to have with another person. No beast, no environment, no excitement in this world could replace the physical presence of another human being. The human soul needs another kind of the same species to live and connect with physically. We have the intrinsic need to stay connected, and even to have physical contact with one another. Now, I am not in anyway suggesting that we break the law by gathering together physically when the law still prohibits that now. None of that absolutely. But if there is one thing that can program us to distance ourselves from people physically, that is the made-believe myth that we can be more satisfied and effective distancing yourself. That, in fact doesn’t fit the principle of how we’ve been created.
Now, take a moment to think through the recent racial riots in America. People are gathering together physically to start a riot. They can’t do it over social medias alone. People know the strength of physical gatherings.
And think about computer addicts who shut themselves up from the world and stay glued to the screen all day. I mean, are they normal? Are they happy creatures?
In fact, psychology tells us that people who withdraw themselves from people physically are actually emitting signs of mental and emotional shutdown. I mean yes, some people need to be alone to unwind themselves after a hard day’s work, but shutting ourselves from others are abnormal. We are not created to be such. Yet, the world, for its own benefits are creating new norms and made-belief suggestions about how we can be equally effective and productive when commuting from home. Or we can be better off working through a computer. It is time effective. Now, I am for a family friendly solution for working parents, I am for work life balance, but I dun think as social beings, we can in anyway progress with little or no physical mingling. In fact, ideas, creativity and passion comes from physical interactions with another person. So never believe that a computer world can replace that.
As it is, a handshake gives confidence. A hug gives warmth. And a pat on someone’s shoulders can just give encouragement. Grandparents need to touch their grandchildren to feel warmth. Workers need to see their bosses face to get affirmation. You can’t replace that with a smiley face or a kissy face emoji. U cannot grasp what people are really thinking and feeling by “zooming” in. Now, of course, these are temporal instruments that we’re using to tide through this COVID-19 period, but beware of people or suggestions which seeks to change your mindset by getting you accustomed to some new norms. Beware of getting accustomed only to online interactions.
Now, at least I would say not for the churches of God. Now be it in times of war, or times of epidemic, the church gather physically, even in small groups, for love, for commitment and for accountability.
Now, let me read you an account from <Acts 2:42,46-47>: They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer… Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
Now, the early church was filled with intense rejections and persecutions by the mainstream Judaism. But they saw the value of physically gathering. They saw the importance of physical fellowship. And the Lord released wonders and miracles amongst them, provided their needs, strengthened their hearts with joy, and even continually converted souls in the midst of that.
Well, you may say they do not have the internet then. Yes granted, but do you think having an online church or gathering could replace physical fellowship? Do you think people will be really committed to the Lord and His commands without physical accountability? Do you even think loving and learning how to love can be done remotely? Try thinking about living apart from your spouse and sustaining that distance marriage, and you will know its not possible in long term. Just as there could be new norms, there are fundamentals that cannot be replaced.
Now, on a last note, let me reiterate that I am not suggesting believers to gather when the country hasn’t lifted the restriction. But I fear that many of us would end up believing that church or work can simply be done remotely through online platforms. Honestly, I don’t think so. As the circuit breaker ended, let me encourage all of us to look forward to the day where we could physically gather again. And let us be all the more faithful about congregating as one in Christ, as the Day is approaching.