Has social media redefined what ‘friend’means?

Does anybody remember what it was like before Facebook was invented? I can’t even remember and I was living in that time when it wasn’t even around. I think this may be because it has had such an impact in my life!

Apart from all the funny videos, the pictures our friends share and memories that now appear, it has really helped us connect with people we would never be able to connect with in person. We can definitely say that it has helped with us with some of our friendships and relationships in ways we never thought were possible.

Earlier this year I decided to do a Facebook clean up and unlike some of the pages I liked when I was like 14. As I was doing that I thought to myself maybe I should go check out who was on my friend list afterwards. I found a variety of people. There were childhood friends, family, people I met had this year and then to my surprise (not really) some people I didn’t even know. I couldn’t think how on earth they got there. You know when something just is there but you never ever know how it got there? Like stuff on your desk at home or a stain on your shirt?

Well after I had seen this I thought to myself how many of these people do I know? I know them, but do I really KNOW them? When I’m feeling down and need someone to just be with would I contact them? I could message them but sometimes a message just isn’t enough. A message and reply is nice but will it fill the gap of having someone right there with you, in person? Will it fill the hole of feeling alone?

I do know most of the people I have on Facebook. I know who they are, what they do, where the stay and where they hang out. Only because Facebook tells me all of this. I wouldn’t say I really know them though. I haven’t actually spent quality time with these people, and if I have, not a lot of it. There are probably only a handful of people I’d really consider ‘friends’ on my friend list. I actually tend to call a few of them my best friends. The term ‘best friend’ has become something which describes someone who you spend more time with in person than you do liking their pictures on Facebook. These are people that I want to actually spend time with. These are the friends I want to see face to face and not just on my screen. These are the friends I won’t even have to call during a bad time because I know they are already on their way to be at my side.

The question is, when all my friends are busy and I can’t message them because they have their stuff going on, why do I feel so alone and want them next to me rather than just a message from them?

That is because when we were created, we were created to have a relationship with God.

It says in Genesis 1:27 – “So God created human beings in His own image.”

Therefore if we put two and two together.

  1. God created us because He wanted a relationship with us.
  2. We were created in His image, which isn’t just how we look, but also everything else that comes with it. One of those things is that we desire relationships and friendships the same way God does.

We long for more than just a like and a comment on Facebook, we long for more than just a message on Whatsapp. Something deep inside of us wants something much more. We long for a friendship, a relationship with someone. To get to know them, to want to be in their presence, to actually spend time with them, one on one.

But why am I telling you all this? Because social media, especially Facebook has given us a twisted view on what friendship is in my opinion. I think this is starting to creep into our relationship with Jesus. Our view of friendship on Facebook is directly affecting our friendship with Jesus. Friendship is heading in a direction where likes and comments mean we care and we have given you a piece of our time and have acknowledged that you are indeed, our friend.

How is it affecting our relationship with Jesus though? Well we tend to like a Facebook post about Jesus or scripture rather than spend time with Him or in His Word. It is just so much easier and less time consuming to like a photo than actually spend time with the person whose picture you are acknowledging.

Jesus wants a relationship with us. He doesn’t want you to just like what He has done or comment on what He says. He wants you to spend time with Him and He wants to spend time with you. He wants you to get to know Him on a personal level, the same way we have that deep desire to get to know someone personally.

Like I said earlier. We long for more than just a like and a comment on Facebook, we long for more than just a message on Whatsapp. Something deep inside of us wants something much more. We long for a friendship, a relationship with someone. To get to know them, to want to be in their presence, to actually spend time with them one on one. Deep down Jesus is desiring that with us and so are we.

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