When was the last time someone looked down at their smartphone while you were talking to them? You were “phubbed”—snubbed by someone who chose to turn their attention to their phone.
Phubbing happens, but it isn’t a kind way to treat someone. God has called us to a much higher standard of love and respect for others: “Those who love God must also love their fellow believers” (1 John 4:21). “Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them” (Romans 12:9). “Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too” (Philippians 2:3-4).
Loving others requires many things, but at the very least it requires the gift of attention. When we care about people, we look them squarely in the eye and truly listen to what they’re saying. Our undivided attention silently communicates, “You matter more to me than my messages or the buzzing of my phone.”
The gift of attention may not seem like much, but it’s increasingly appreciated in our technological world. We’re all looking for friends who will look up from their screen long enough to focus on what we’re sharing. We all want to feel like we matter to someone which is difficult when we’re being phubbed.
We can’t control our friends, but we can be the kind of friend we seek. Let’s “take delight in honoring each other” (Romans 12:10). And the reason we can offer the gift of attention to others is because we have the attention of God. If you’re God’s child, you’re “the apple of his eye” (Zechariah 2:8 NIV). You’re not in the corner of God’s eye but in the “apple” (or pupil)—the very center. God never takes His eyes off you. He doesn’t look away when you pray. Your Father has never “phubbed” you, not even once!