Monday, April 22, 2013

Why can't we be friends?

We've all seen it before (at least those of us who have Facebook pages... isn't that all of us?): this friend or the other has done a spring/fall/spiteful/pick your adjective 'cleaning up' of their Facebook friends, and now they're ready to tell those left standing just how lucky they were to make the cut.

"If you judge people, you have no time to love them."
- Mother Teresa

For some reason or another - I'll probably figure out in the writing of this blog post - this sort of thing never did sit well with me. I get that 'having a Facebook' is a personal thing; something for people to personalize and add silly sibling quotes and their latest TV show obsession (yes, it's an obsession) to. And therefore people want to see things on their newsfeed that make them happy and friends with encouraging/insightful/philosophical posts, pictures of their cute children, and reviews of the latest and greatest restaurants and products. Nothing wrong with that.

"I no doubt deserved my enemies, but I don't believe I deserved my friends."
- Walt Whitman

Here's where the issue begins for me. As a Christian, I am called to reflect the Lord in every aspect of my life - even Facebook. It's easy to do when everyone else around us is posting wonderful Christian-y stuff, and indeed the Bible does say that "bad company ruins good morals" (1 Cor. 15:33). Surrounding ourselves with those that have like-minded beliefs and who will encourage us in our walk with Christ is something we are supposed to do. But. We are also called the "light of the world" and the "salt of the earth" (Matthew 5) - we cannot put ourselves in a cloister and expect our light to shine or people to be intrigued by our 'saltiness.'

"Friendship without self interest is one of the rare and beautiful things in life."
 - James Francis Byrnes

Ah yes. My point. I guess what aggravates me about all this friend purging is that it seems sort of selfish. It's not bad to have Christian friends in your newsfeed - not at all! But deleting people simply because 'they aren't a terribly close friend at all, really' or 'they turned out to be such a loser' is a mite self-centered (this IS Facebook after all) should perhaps make you stop and thing twice about why exactly you're doing it. I'm sure many of you have heard the saying that points out "you may be the only Bible some people ever read": can you endure a few strange/depressing posts or maybe some foul language, knowing that you are shining a light into this person's life - perhaps the only light? Think about it.