Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, “Look at us!” So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them (Acts 3:4-5, NIV).
Friend to Friend
My teenage son was doing homework on the computer, eyes locked on the screen. “Please set the table,” I said as I walked by.
Several minutes later, I returned to find my son in the exact same position while the table remained unset. “Didn’t you hear me?” I asked.
“Did you say something mom?” he answered.
When there’s no eye contact involved in human conversation, communication is compromised!
You don’t have to have children to recognize our preoccupation with digital devices can erode the quality of our closest relationships. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, not the posts of the beholder. Eye contact is a key ingredient in any healthy relationship.
I remember when my husband James and I were first dating, we would spend hours on the couch just looking at each other. We weren’t even kissing yet. We called this blissful activity “face time” before there was FaceTime. That constant eye contact connected and bonded us.
We also miss opportunities to minister to strangers when our eyes are locked downward. In Acts 3:1-11, we read about a certain lame man who begged daily at the temple gate. The Apostle Peter and John didn’t turn away from this beggar as most temple goers did. On the contrary, in today’s truth, we learn Peter and John looked straight at the poor man. Different translations say they fastened their eyes (KJV), looked intently (NRSV), directed their gaze (ESV), fixed their eyes (NKJV) at the man. This posture of eye contact linked with compassion led to the lame man’s miraculous healing by God.
Imagine if Peter was too busy updating his Instagram feed (hashtag #templeministry) and taking selfies of John and him walking inside the temple. They might have gotten a great photo op, but they would have missed the lame man who needed a divine touch.
Whether we’re walking into church, the workplace, a restaurant, or home it’s a good idea to keep our eyes open, looking up and around, not constantly looking down at our devices. You never know whose soul you will nourish simply by seeing and noticing him or her. Courteous and caring eye contact may be the first step towards a miracle for a stranger or a son.
The lame man was touched by God that day. He was walking and jumping and praising God. His encounter with Jesus changed not only his life, but numerous others. Acts 3:9-10 says, “When all the people saw him walking and praising God, they recognized him as the same man who used to sit begging at the temple gate called Beautiful, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him (NIV).”
The beggar’s transformation triggered a transformation in town, and it all started with a look.
What might happen in your life if you looked down at your phone less, and looked up at your loved ones and strangers more? Turning away from your screen to turn towards your friend or family member says “You are more valuable to me than a piece of hardware.” The more you notice others, the more you open the door to the miraculous.
The psalmist writes in Psalm 123:1-2, “I lift up my eyes to you, to you who sit enthroned in heaven…our eyes look to the Lord our God, till he shows us his mercy (NIV).” This is more than a quick glance. This lifting of the eyes is intentional. It’s a steady, adoring gaze filled with longing and expectation. When you lift your eyes to God, instead of downward at your phone, you will find everything that you need. Are you ready to look up today?
Dear God, have mercy on me. My help is in the name of the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth. I look up to you today for my daily bread. Teach me how to notice others around me and to minister to them in your love.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Now It’s Your Turn
How would your loved ones describe your relationship with your phone? Do they often feel like they are competing with a device for your undivided attention (and eye contact)?
Picture yourself putting down your phone and giving eye contact to the next person you see. Pray and ask God for help to make this your new habit.
More from the Girlfriends
Need help managing screens in your family? Maybe you are hard pressed to receive regular eye contact from your kids. Check out Arlene’s books, co-authored with Dr. Gary Chapman, Screen Kids and Grandparenting Screen Kids.
© 2021 by Arlene Pellicane. All rights reserved.
Your words today are so true! Communication has gone out the window! As a grandmother, I am very concerned for what the future holds for the lack of skills to interact with others. You are so right about missing life around us by looking at a screen! So sad.
We do need to return to eye contact, common courtesy, and spending time with loved ones for sure! Thanks for your comment Cathy!
Alright, Arlene in him you live!