Proverbs 18:24 A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
Now that school is over and we are occasionally bored, Joie and I have joined Facebook. I must say that within all of the hype is a faint pang of the feeling that people will experience after receiving the sign of the beast. I felt it when I got my first cell phone and I expect to feel it if and when I next own a cell phone. I felt it when I signed up for a blog and I will certainly feel it if ever I obtain an iPod. It is the warm rush of conformity.
I find that it is a very humbling experience to ask someone to be my friend and wait anxiously for them to confirm it. What if they do not accept? Will I receive a notification from the Facebook team telling me to please try someone else? What is the extent of the rejection? Will they list reasons? Somehow I am reminded of folded sheets of notebook paper with scribbled pleas like "Do You Like Me. Circle? Yes. No." We are older now, but still such desperate people.
Anyway, in my reaction to all of that, I spent some time searching through my txt NIV Bible for verses about friends and friendship. I recommend such. It was interesting to see that friendship, which often comes with selfish motives and distracting loyalties, is not highly valued by the One who ought to matter. Friendship is not always the same as Love, you see. Many of the verses warned against friends, because they would betray and give bad advice. In the book of Matthew (NIV version, without any forays into Greek or Hebrew), Jesus only called one person 'Friend'... any guesses?... (Matthew 26:50) Much of Job's agony is intertwined with a few harmful friendships, friendships he had expected to be more reliable than his trust in God (Job 6:14).
Neighbors, meanwhile, seem to play an integral role in how God wants to be worshipped...