So a friend got me writing this blog. If she was just a friend I wouldn’t have even listened. I’m sure the “just a friend” is a bit confusing. You see, I’ve found that people tend to typecast their friends. We have our general friends. The general friends are those who we work with, go to school with, etc. We have our dozen or so close friends. These friends we let in a bit more into the secret realm of our lives. These friends know a good deal about you, and could probably answer a handful of topical question about you. Then there are the few inner circle friends who are more like family These friends have gotten through all the walls you’ve put up, ran around the block a few times, and can say what you are thinking before you even say it. Now in recent years, we have also developed a friendship which I call a social networking friend. I know, weird, right?
In observing the situation, I have to bring up something strange. All my life, I have had three. Three is a good number. Three inner disciples: Peter, James, John. Three strikes before you’re out. Three family members (that’s what I have and so I’m biased and had to insert that here). And I always would stare up at the sky, look at the stars, and find my favorite constellation. Now don’t worry, I’m not going to get all planetarium happy with you. I’m not all smarty-pants with constellations. I just know where Orion the Hunter is because he has that awesome belt, with three stars. I would always seek him out, and think of my three stars in my life. Anyhow, this got me wondering about friendship, about closeness, with regard to Jesus.
Jesus had the Twelve. They were all close. Yes the infamous Judas wasn’t such a great friend; however, the disciples are a small sized group that spent a lot of time with Jesus. To me, this is similar to our friendships with our close friends. These are the friends we see possibly for coffee or dinner at least once a month. These may be a select few from high school or college, and from work, or possibly some neighbors. Perhaps there are even a few who came into the pack via other friends from the group. Anyway you look at it, you and them have a bond. Going further is the three. Jesus had His inner circle, which were the disciples he spent the most time with training and preparing to spread the Message and the found the church. We usually have 1-3 closer friends. Some people call them best friends, and those who are into abbreviating may even say B.F.F.L. (best friends for life). Maybe these friends grew up with you, and have seen you through learning how to ride a bike to marriage. These friends know most everything about you. Sometimes they know more about you that you can remember about yourself. These are the friends that help you hold it together during the rough times, know exactly how to make you laugh at any occasion, and are always there no matter what.
Then we get to these general friends and the social networking friends, which seriously has changed the layout of friendship. The general friends you talk to quite frequently, sometimes simply to appear polite, and sometimes because you do genuinely like the person. At times, the reason these general friends aren’t more close friends is because life is busy and you haven’t the time. Perhaps you have trust issues and don’t yet want to let them get any closer at the moment. These are the people you see nearly every day at work, school, or around the neighborhood. You talk to them, you know about their lives to a degree, and if they won the lottery, you would immediately say you were their best friend (okay, maybe not everyone would, but you know some would). Things have changed though with this social networking friends concept. We have let our general friends invade the secret domain. We have allowed people we barely know to gain access to our personal information. Sometimes it’s a birthday and some family photos, but at times we air our dirty laundry.
I have seen friends on my Facebook page talk about marital problems, their child’s mental health disorders, late night parties that got way out of hand, and so much more. I have seen people in a light I never wanted to see. For example, you would think a certain friend was kind and caring, but then they would use their Facebook status as a means to attack people personally.
This whole social networking friendship got me thinking about how we are to love everyone. We are told to love God and to love one another. Facebook could be great for that sharing of love. I’m not making some crazy reference to the like button which everyone feels the need to click to be recognized. I was actually thinking our next presidential election, we should just have a Facebook page set up, and then have a post for each candidate. You could click “like” on the candidate you chose as you are eating a Pop Tart, drinking some coffee, and watching the news while still wearing your pajamas. No, I don’t think that’s the way to run things, I’m just making a point that people can get a bit like happy on Facebook. I think sometimes people don’t even know what they are even liking. What I am trying to point out is that with Facebook we can reach a lot of people. Rather than having our three or our twelve, rather than touching just our general friends we see here and there, we have a large number of friends we can communicate, and at such a quick rate of time.
Some of my Facebook friends post prayer requests. It’s interesting to see how great a response is for those requests. It’s a great thing, supporting other Christians during their burdens. We are supposed to be there for each other, and help bear each others burdens. It’s written that two is better than one. Sadly, I find most people I know use Facebook more for being nosey, for playing addictive games, for having “me moments,” and for sharing photos and events with family. I would love to see more support. I would love to see more sharing of love. There will be times when I know a friend is a little down, or perhaps the person writes something that gives that impression. When I see this, I respond. You cannot imagine how many people are so thankful for those few seconds you gave them, and more importantly the love you showed.
Life is busy. Sometimes I think we need to slow down a little and look around us. If we are at a family function or out with friends, why do we all have our cell phones in hand, clicking away at the keys instead of talking to each other? And when we have to be in front of a computer, and we travel over to Facebook, why can we spend hours harvesting crops for a farm that’s not even real, and yet we cannot send a quick message to a friend we know is going through a rough time. Maybe you think you don’t have the words, but honestly, there are no perfect words. Even so, God gives us the right words. Just ask. Be the vessel today. Share a moment of your time, and you could make someone’s day. You never know how far the smallest, simplest gesture can reach. It all starts with love. Remember God is love. Show some love.