“I was so happy to receive an email from someone who claimed to love me”

By now you would have heard about the ‘I LOVE YOU’ virus which has made its destructive way around the world. You would either have been struck by it, or have received 30 emails from well-meaning friends warning you about it. Experts were curious as to how it managed to hit both computer novices and experienced computer users. When asked, the experts said that they couldn’t resist opening a mail that offered love. I’m sure their interest would have been further piqued by the fact that the ‘love’ seem to have come from unexpected sources! When confronted with the possibility of love, they were no longer computer experts- just human. It seems that the e-world has its own way to remind us of what it means to be human.

1. Human beings are relational beings.

‘It is not good for the man to be alone’ (Genesis 2:18a NLT) was the divine commentary on human existence, in the ideal world of Eden, before sin entered the picture. Humankind was created to relate-both to God, their Creator, and to other human beings. We need relationships as much as we need food and water though the results of relationship-deprivation may not manifest itself so obviously.

2. The modern world is a relational desert.

The one key truth about relationships is that they need to be nurtured. And that requires time. Which means a world that worships speed is a very harsh environment for relationships to grow. The explosive growth of knowledge (the World Wide Web grows by a million electronic pages everyday) means we need to spend more and more time keeping up and sifting through the information flood. And the speed of information technology means we are plugged in most of the time, initiating and responding to communication, back and forth, back and forth.

3. We must make time for friends.

The ‘I LOVE YOU’ virus incident reminds us that there are many lonely people out there. At the risk of stating the obvious, we must take our relationship deprivation seriously. We must understand the soul-destructive effects of loneliness’ and do the necessary.

One concrete thing we could all do is to covenant to meet up with two friends at least once a month. Over a meal, the three of you could take turns to share about three areas of your life: