Never unfriended

How many of you have Facebook accounts?  Of those of you who do, how many "friends" do you have on Facebook?  I have over 1,300 "friends" on Facebook, most of which I have casually added to my list of "friends" because they sent a request or I went to high school with them or something like that.  My wife makes fun of me because she knows that I really don't know many of these 1,300+ all that well but I still call them my friends. 

She has a point with all of this.  There are times when I see someone's status update appear on my news feed and I will wonder to myself who this person is.  And then there are those "friends" who update about how funny their cat is or what color socks they are wearing for the day and I realize just how little I have in common with that person.  So in order to remedy this I have recently begun to "unfriend" some people on Facebook that I realize I truly know very little about if I know anything about them at all.  Facebook can be a truly great way to connect and stay connected with real people across the world, but it can also be a place where you can get bogged down with a lot of meaningless and less than inspiring stuff (and it can be kind of addicting).

Let's face it, true friendship is not based upon some image of a person that appears on your computer screen that you swap birthday wishes with once a year.  Those things aren't bad, they just aren't necessarily real either.  True friends are more than that.

The Bible defines the word "friend" (philos in the Greek) as one who is companion, who pulls close to you and makes an investment in your life.  A true friend is one who knows you intimately yet still walks through life with you.  Most of you can think of at least a couple of people in your life that fit this description, those who have gone to battle with you and still bear scars on your behalf.  Those are your true friends.

Now here is something really cool that I want to share with you.  This same kind of intense friendship that I have been describing is exactly the same kind of friendship that Jesus desires with each one of us.  Let me give you an example.  In Mark 2:15-17 Jesus went into the home of Levi, a tax collector, and shared a meal with him and a bunch of other tax collectors and "sinners."  This was a huge deal because religious leaders in Jesus' day simply did not associate with people who were not part of the religious elite.  They wouldn't be caught dead sharing a meal with some "sinner" who was not as close to God as they were for fear they might be contaminated by their sin.

Jesus could have cared less about that.  He came to be a friend to sinners, the ranks of which all of us belong to.  He went to battle for you and me and most certainly bore the scars on our behalf.  You could not ask for a better friend than Jesus because no matter what you do He will still love you and extend His hand of grace in your direction.  And there is no fear that Jesus will ever "unfriend" you or me if things don't go His way.  He remains true to the end.

This whole idea of Jesus actually wanting to be my friend and then maintaining this friendship in spite of my unworthiness blows me away.  And there is one more wrinkle to add to this.  If you are Jesus' friend and recipient of His grace and salvation, you are also invited to extend that same hand of friendship to the lost people around you, becoming a friend of sinners yourself.  No more hiding in a spiritual biosphere hoping that the world doesn't stain you. 

If Jesus would not have gone to sinful people then no one would have because the religious leaders in his day were too self-consumed with their own self-righteousness to care.  If you know Christ and have received His grace and salvation, then you just might be the only true friend that the lost around you will have.  We can't afford to unfriend lost people around us before they have even heard of the hope found only in Christ.

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