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Meditations by John Dean

Monday, August 18, 2014

De-friending

(Proverbs 17:17KJV) A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.

The older I get the more I question many of the things I once thought I had all the answers to. Among those are “friendship and love.”

One often refers to their acquaintances as their friends, but when tested their acquaintances usually turn out to only be their acquaintances. One often misinterprets friendliness with friendship. This can be a setup for disappointment.

That type of friendship (acquaintance) often changes with circumstances. When things are going well in a person’s life they are usually loved and respected. When things begin to go wrong in that person’s life then many times those acquaintances either forsake them or at least stand at a distance from them.

If that is the case then the friendship was based on circumstances rather than on the drawing of one’s heart. A true friend loves regardless of another’s success or failure. Anyone can love another when things are going well in their life.

I have also noticed over the years that many words have lost their meaning. That being the case, then words like “love” and “friend” are only meaningful for the moment. Obviously that kind of “love and friendship” can change quickly the first time something contrary happens.

I have always been intrigued by what is called “friends” on Facebook. Since I tend to think more literally than most, I usually look at friendship from the Bible’s perspective rather than from an acquaintance perspective.

Before I appear to be more “holy than thou”…I want to expose my own hypocritical self by saying I too have fallen into the old “Facebook” type of friends. The fact is, I do not have a clue who most of those people are that I call my friends on Facebook.

Perhaps it is because of (what is considered to be) the “Facebook” type of interpretation of “friendship” that makes it easy for one to “de-friend” another. Could it be that these types of friends were never really friends at all…but perhaps something shy of an acquaintance?

I know someone who is continually de-friending others…even their family members because of disagreements…but when the squabble is over they make them their friends again on Facebook.

The “Facebook” type of “friendship” is obviously not what our text was trying to communicate. As sad as it may be I am afraid the church has adopted more of the “Facebook” type of interpretation of “friends” than the Bible’s interpretation.

Maybe we need to take another look at the Bible’s meaning for “friends” and begin adjusting back to Biblical truth and enjoy real friendship.

Father,
Forgive us for slipping backward and taking something as meaningful as true friendship so lightly. You said in our text that “A friend loves at all times.” However, there have been times when it has been much easier to “de-friend” someone than to show grace and mercy. Help us to mature as a friend.

Amen

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