Have you ever been asked this question? Have you ever asked this question of someone else?
Usually this inquiry would be made in a casual setting, or perhaps occasionally in a hostile environment as one person challenges another. In either of these situations, the first response would likely be a name. This may be followed by a statement of job profession or perhaps a reason for being in that place at that present time.
In a casual instance where you are meeting someone for the first time, other information may be offered as small talk ensues. A person may share where they live, what car they drive, what sports they play, how many children they have.
These are expected responses to the question,(or some version of), ‘who are you’?
Have you ever been asked ‘who are you?’ by someone who wasn’t interested in what you do for a living, or what car you drive, or where you live? They didn’t want to know your resume, but wanted to know you.
They didn’t want to know how you keep your lawn so green or how you organize your challenging job. They wanted to know what makes you smile, what makes you cry, and what is below the exterior that is presented to the outside world.
In today’s world of Instagram, Facebook, Tinder, Match and Tumblr, we seem to be lacking the ability to truly get to know a person. We throw words into a profile, put up pictures of our best selves, share the adventures of our “awesome” lives, and allow others – strangers, friends, family and acquaintances alike – to judge us on the things we share.
Internet dating is the worst aspect of this as single men and women fill out extensive profiles, display photos, and then spend hours browsing through the same things others have placed online. Quick judgements are made based on how someone looks in a picture or the clothing they are wearing, or a few specific words focused on in the never-ending questionnaire of most dating websites.
Because of social media we’ve become so quick to judge someone, and the life they appear to have, that it seems to be causing us to judge more quickly in daily encounters as well. We don’t take the time to get to know someone, really get to know someone, anymore. And we have very little grace when someone we’ve just met makes a mistake or does something we see as “wrong”.
The reality is that in social media, as well as in person, we often have no idea what is really going on in someone’s life. We have no idea what is going on in their heart. We have no idea who they really are. And we often don’t take the time to find out.
Then we’re shocked when we hear that a certain couple is divorcing, or that our friend’s husband has been diagnosed with cancer, or that our co-worker is in the hospital after a suicide attempt. And we can argue that we didn’t know or they didn’t tell, but did we ask?
Our eyes are so glued to our phones that we don’t notice our friend sitting next to us with a trembling lip as she tries not to cry. We’re updating our statuses while a child is being bullied on the playground in front of us. We are seeing who swiped ‘yes’ for us on Tinder while sitting on the bus and we don’t notice the elderly gentleman who just got on and is struggling to stand because there are no empty seats.
We need to move off social media and talk. Really talk. We need to communicate in person, show grace and offer love to one another. We all crave deep connections and intimate relationships, but we are depriving ourselves of exactly that when we hide behind social media, or when we fail to truly get to know a person outside of Facebook and Whatsapp.
Instead of judging without mercy, let’s listen with kindness.
Instead of ignoring without care, let’s help without selfishness.
Instead of dumping someone without grace, let’s love without boundaries.
Instead of being in today’s culture, let’s be like Jesus.
Jesus asked us to love our neighbours. Can we really love them without truly engaging in knowing them?
Jesus dined with outcasts and listened to sinners. Let’s invite everyone in, just as they are, without judgement or criticism.
None of us are perfect, but we are all made in the image of our perfect God.
We are flawed. We make mistakes. We lose our tempers. We lack mercy. We judge.
But we are also valued. We are worthy. We matter. We are loved. We are beautifully, intricately, and uniquely made. There is no one exactly like you. There is no one exactly like me.
That’s how amazing our Almighty Creator is.
Take the time to get to know who someone is. Take the time to get to know who you are. Take the time to share who you truly are.
Because God made you and He doesn’t make mistakes.
“Don’t pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honouring each other.” Romans 12:9-10 NLT