I was in a conversation with a friend over coffee not long ago when she said to me, “I can’t believe how petty some people can be!”
I was taken aback, “Did I do something to upset you?” I asked.
“No, not you.” She said, I must have looked relieved because she let out a laugh and went on to explain.
It seems a Facebook friend of hers had posted a comment on her wall that my coffee date had found rude and offensive.
“I am so done with her and her petty comments. Doesn’t she have anything better to do with her time then criticize everyone on Facebook? I am so done. I have decided to unfriend her. I don’t need that negativity in my life.”
As I drove home from our meeting, I reflected on her very poignant words, “ I have decided to unfriend her.”
And I wondered, was this “friend” ever really a friend?
Today in our cyber world, it is so easy to sit behind our computer screens and smartphones and make thoughtless comments. It is equally as easy to lose the meaning of true friendship.
My Facebook profile tells me that I have 540 “friends.” Social media prevails upon me to believe that I have hundreds of people who care about me. But in truth, I don’t have 540 friends. To be completely honest, I am not even sure I have met all of those 540 “friends” in person, much less grabbed a coffee with them, or called them in a time of need.
On Facebook we can add friends simply by the click of a button. It is just that easy. A friend request comes in, “click”, and now we are friends.
Here’s the thing – to “unfriend” is just as easy, especially when someone hurts us or posts things we are sick of seeing or we find offensive. That was certainly the case for my coffee date.
But the truth is that ending a relationship is much more complex than the way social media convinces us it can be. In real life it is not as easy as clicking an icon on a screen.
Social media is a relationship tool, but it’s not a relationship truth. More than ever, we need to see our friendships through the lens of truth. I love this verse found in Proverbs:
My child, don’t lose sight of common sense and discernment. Hang on to them for they will refresh your soul.” Proverbs 3:21-22a (NLT)
Common sense and discernment are wonderful filters, given to us by God to help us see things as they really are.
With common sense and discernment we are reminded that the number of “friends” we have on Facebook is not what really matters. It’s the one or two people, our true friends who we can count on through thick or thin, that truly matters. Common sense and discernment reminds us that those are the relationships that need to be cultivated.
Today as you go about your day, take a moment to look up from your computer screen or smartphone and reflect on those who you would consider true friends.
What can you do today to cultivate and lean into those friendships?
This Sunday John Bigham will be preaching and leading us in the sacrament of Communion. We will break from our series this week and return to #Selfie on March 12th.