Have you noticed that people can be frustrating to deal with? If not, you probably haven’t worked in customer service yet. If we’re being honest, though, we know that many times each of us has been frustrated and even hurt by others. So it may seem that a comfortable distance is what will keep us safe and secure.

Our individualistic culture is great at promoting just that – a grand sense of independence. If in other times and places, people relied on others for much of their everyday life, a car ride for example. Today, it seems that you can make it on your own, keeping others at a convenient distance. The popular culture encourages independence, and conditions us to fear commitment.

Social media has become a substitute of community. It is where you curate an image of yourself you’d like to present, and interact with hundreds of others that you may have never spoken to. It creates an illusion of intimacy – you know what everyone is up to – that doesn’t require actual connection.

However, while we gain hundreds of Facebook friends, and Instagram followers, we might be loosing the depth of the connection that people had when they spent most of their lives within a small neighborhood. People might seem more replaceable, and therefore, less valuable.

What can we do? We need to recognize that people are far more then their pretty online package – or the lack of it. Yes, in fact a community is not all friends, but people who are for some circumstance around us. In fact, we are all part of a community already, a community that for the large part, we didn’t chose. Instead, God gifted it to us.

So make the best of it. Be with them. Don’t escape to the online world at the slightest inconvenience. It might be harder then scrolling through filtered bright squares, but bear with it. You might just find that it is worth it.

With all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. Ephesians 4:2

Liya Abramova