Posts Tagged ‘ Friendship ’

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?

Networking Gone Bad

That same day Herod and Pilate became friends with each other, before this they had been enemies. Luke 23:12 NRSV

MP900402718[1] As we get closer to remembering Jesus’ last days and his resurrection, I want to look behind the scenes for a minute. We know that Pilate and Herod were both reluctant participants in the Jews’ plot to do away with Jesus. But what often gets missed when we talk Jesus’ death is that these two became friends.

That relationship was certainly an unholy alliance. Still, it was a coming together of enemies around a mutual problem. Interestingly enough, after the whole Jesus affair was over, the relationship continued.

In today’s terms, I would say that Herod and Pilate were good at networking. They reached out and found a way to help each other. The only problem was that their actions were directly responsible for Jesus’ death. That sounds to me like a case of networking gone bad!

MP900439345[1] Networking is supposed to connect people to people of influence. It is supposed to help us form useful alliances. It is supposed to expand our opportunities and open doors for us.

Networking did all that and more for Pilate and Herod. Unfortunately, they had a total disregard for who they were networking with. I don’t think I would want to drop Herod’s or Pilate’s name, if I were trying to get into the kingdom of God. I wouldn’t want anyone to know I had anything to do with those two!

Today social networks are all the rage. The more “friends” people get on Facebook the more connected and important people feel. I have nothing against being well-connected and having rich social networks. But I wonder what those networks say about us.

MP900442246[1] What does your network look like? What does your list of people who have friended you say about you? What do those relationships say about your beliefs, your desires, your goals, your reputation? Do your social connections reflect your faith and the truths you try to live by?

Let your faith guide you to God-honoring alliances that will build you up, bring honor to the kingdom of God, and help you fulfill Christ’s calling on your own life! As you do, you will enjoy the benefits that come with networking done right!

Avoid Spontaneous Combustion

Strife is stirred up by the hot-tempered. Contention is calmed by those slow to anger. Proverbs 15:18 adapted

MP900390445[1] In the certain industries, people work around combustible materials and explosive gases. In those places safety is the #1 concern. Everything possible has to be done to protect the workers. Of course the key to safety in those situations is prevention. The focus has to be on reducing the risk of combustion and explosion.

Relationships can be just like those combustible environments. Angry, temperamental people can spark conflict in a flash. All it takes is little misunderstanding, and they explode. That is the wrong kind of person to be in a relationship with. For some, it creates a dangerous environment, which threatens their safety and well-being.

abstract fire on blackWise people understand the dangers of spontaneous combustion. They recognize the  havoc a hot temper can cause. So they are careful to not throw gasoline on the fire. They don’t fight back with anger. They know that fighting fire with fire can explode into a disastrous situation.

Wise people are slow to anger. They don’t purposely aggravate a situation. They don’t look for ways to cause trouble. They are the kind of people I want to surround myself with.

What I find is that when I am around those who are slow to anger there is a calm, even in stressful times. My life is tough enough. I don’t need to be around angry people who stir up problems and set fires. I need to partner with those who work hard to prevent conflict, and who respond to life’s stress with patience, love and Christ-honoring action.

You may be in a combustible situation, and you may not be able to change your MP900442246[1]environment. The key is to surround yourself with people who will work hard with you to prevent the kinds of explosions that break relationships apart and destroy lives. Those who put the love of Christ into action can reduce the risk of strife and bring calm to even the most difficult times.

Why not keep yourself near those people?  Why not do all you can to reduce the risk of spontaneous combustion!