1 John 5:1-6
Peace be with you!
To date, I have 464 friends on Facebook. Yet off the top of my head I can name thirty friends who I consider my close friends – the ones I can call out of the blue to just to talk or in a sheer panic when I go through hard times. I probably send out seventy Christmas cards to friends and family. What a contrast to my 464 friends on Facebook! Maybe Facebook should use the word “connections” instead of “friends.” A large majority of my friends on Facebook are individuals I met at conferences or through other friends. They are people with whom I want to keep in touch, but only occasionally. Sure, some of these friends have become close friends, but the number is a single digit.
Before Facebook, the word “friends” meant those individuals we knew personally. We knew our friends in real life, whether we saw or talked with them daily or only caught up every few months or years. These days, a friend is anyone we are connected with on Facebook, even if we have never met them. It is interesting how the definition of a friend has changed over the past few years.
Friendships form out of our need to share common ground, values, and interests with other people. We make friends who support us in our endeavors and our physical, emotional, and spiritual needs. Although a real friendship always includes give-and-take between friends, we have a tendency to sometimes be self-focused in our friendships, rather than focused on serving and loving them.
Our tendency to be self-focused instead of others-focused is what makes Jesus’ example as a friend stand out so boldly to us. Jesus’ friendship with you is not about him and his needs; Jesus is all about you and your need for salvation and redemption. He cares so much about you that he laid down his own life through his crucifixion and death so that you could be forgiven of your sins and be in a relationship with God the Father. Jesus offers his friendship to you for your needs as an individual. Not only does he offer his friendship, but he gives you the gift of his friendship freely. It is a gift; Jesus chooses you as his friend.
Jesus’ friendship with you stems from his love for you. Each of us as Christians has been brought into the family of God through the power of his love. As we wonder at the marvel of being made his friends, we are transformed from self-centered people to people with transformed hearts, who cannot wait to share his love for us with others. We long to respond to God’s friendship by obeying the commandments and loving others. Our faith in the Triune God leads us to keep the commandments not out of duty, but because we love God. By extending Jesus’ love to others, we express our devotion to the Triune God.
The more I think about it, Facebook and Twitter invite us, as Christians, to share God’s love with others. We are connected with so many people on Facebook and Twitter who would be unknown to us without these applications. Social media gives us some great opportunities both to be better friends to others and to share the Good News with them. Maybe Facebook does not so much redefine the terms of friends and friendships as it expands the scope of our friends and allows us to connect with more individuals. After all, God’s love is for all people.
Thanks be to God!
Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for Jesus laying down his life for us so that we might become friends of God. Help us to lay down our lives for others and to love one another. Remind us of your love and your gift of friendship. Thank you for Jesus’ friendship with us. Amen.
Thanks to the Triune God – God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
Please answer the following reflective questions in the comments below. Please agree to disagree and be respectful to each other. (If you have not already done so, please also take a moment, to sign the comment covenant.) You can answer as many questions as you would like.
1. What does it mean to you that you have been made a friend of God?
2. In what way is God calling you to show His love to others this week?