by Brock Benson
All of us know what it means to be snubbed right? It’s the moment when someone has wounded you whether intentionally or not by their attitudes and or actions. Most times when someone snubs you it’s intentional and they mean it to hurt you because they themselves are probably hurt. Regardless of how it happens or whether it is intentional or not it never feels great when we get snubbed by someone. And just in case you are wondering and looking for a real life example of what snubbery looks like, check out the 2011 box office hit “The Help”. Viola Davis and Emma Stone both play a hug role in unveiling how the idea of snubbing was so prevalent in the deep south among white housewives in the 1960’s.
On my way to work this morning I was listening to the radio where the inspiration and title for this post came. Doug and Jaci of the Fish were talking about how a new word was being coined because of the social struggles technology and having the world at our finger tips is creating. The word was “phubbed”, and it’s when someone snubs you via use of their phone. Doug and Jaci sited research from Baylor University which indicates more than 50% of spouses had been phubbed by their significant other. As the research and the thought stewed around in my brain a bit longer, I thought to myself “Yea, I have been phubbed before.” But then as I thought longer I thought more about how much I have been the one doing the phubbing. Truth be told, I do my phubbing in many more ways than just through my phone. And I bet we all do at times. Valuing people, their thoughts, opinions, and stories is at times really difficult for me. Especially once I sense I have gotten to “know” them, then phubbing in whatever way I may do it to them doesn’t seem so bad.
As a pastor this is probably not something good to admit but I hate being fake. I’m a default “A” personality type in many ways and consider myself very task-oriented. That can be good, and it can be very bad. People matter more than my tasks. People matter more than my twitter feed. My wife and son should matter to me more than me checking what the weights are on twitter for the latest FLW and Bassmaster elite tournaments or what is going on with Steph Curry’s injury. Yet often times I am tempted to phub those around me because I am convinced the world inside my phone is a better one than the one I am living in. My fear with this struggle in particular is it’s one the enemy can use to steal something away from us that is infinitely more valuable than any information we’re getting on the phone. Some of us are going to look up from our phone and the best years of life are going to be over. All because we just needed a little more time to scroll through the feed, check the email, send that text, make that call, listen to that podcast, read that blog, post that pic, etc. etc. etc.
How about you? Have you been phubbed before? How did it feel? Maybe we don’t even feel it because everyone is numb to it now. What about a little bit more convicting question; have we been the one who has done some phubbing of our own? Do you struggle with phubbing the people closest to you like I do because you sense that you already know their story and everything about them and thus you give yourself a pass? Don’t miss the best of life because you are vicariously scrolling through someone else’s. Parents of teenagers, challenge your teenagers by exhortation and example to stop phubbing you.
The struggle of living in virtual reality verse the present one will continue to be something many of us battle as a first world problem. We will continue until Jesus returns to believe what we see in our phone is better than what we have. Yet my encouragement for myself and anyone else reading this is to heed Proverbs 21:11 “when a wise man is instructed, he gains knowledge.” May we learn from our mistakes and look more like Jesus.
I want to close this post by sharing with you a challenge my little brother shared with me two summers ago when he lived with us. Whenever I was guilty of phubbing those around me he would challenge me with a simple but memorable phrase “Disconnect to Connect” Brock “disconnect to connect”.