A True Friend

"No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” John 15:13 NRSV

Now that we live in the Facebook era, I think it is time for someone to ask, what is a friend anyway? What does it mean if someone friends me?

Am I anything more than a name on their list? Do I get a window into the heart and mind of that person, or just a window into their posts and the posts of their other friends? Do I get a place in their life, or just the right to post on their wall? What kind of connection have I really forged?

Social psychologists have tried to understand why some people have tens of thousands of Facebook friends, and others only a few. They have not found any clear answers. But I wonder if Facebook friends are actually friends at all?

I am not interested in arguing the benefits of social networking, which can be many. But I do question whether what Facebook and the other social media web offerings give us is actually what we really want, and so desperately need, in a friend.

In the song, What a Friend We Have in Jesus, Joseph Scriven tells us there are some unique things Jesus offers those who befriend him. Jesus bears our sin and carries our burdens. He shares our sorrows. He sustains us through trials and temptations. He lifts us when we get discouraged. He knows our every weakness. He is our refuge, our shield, and our source for solace. He offers us a future in glory, where we will enjoy rapture, praise and endless worship.

MP910220956[1]How many friends on Facebook can offer all that? How many friends on Facebook even care much about our real struggles, issues and eternal destiny?

Being popular and connected is nice. But I want, and frankly need, much more. I need a friend who is closer than a brother. I need Jesus. I’m glad he’s friended me. Aren’t you?

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