Friendships: The Good, Bad and The Ugly.
by Nick Bishop
Communication is Key! Trustworthy and honest friendships are a vital part of life’s rich tapestry that adds meaning and purpose to our lives.
A true friend can be as close to us as a family member, and sometimes more so, and friends can come from a wide range of backgrounds in our life experience. Some friendships last a lifetime, while others are fleeting.
When we were at school we usually had a friend or a group of friends that we kept throughout our schooling. The same is true if we go to college or university, as it is at work. We may have friends that we share a common interest with, while other friends can feel very much like family to us. Such is the multitude of the different kinds of friendship we experience in life.
Sadly, we may lose contact for different reasons, and we miss them. We find in life that people move on, get married, move away, or sadly, we fall out with them or them with us, or they pass away.
As a Christian, you will have good friendships with fellow believers. Also, from a secular background or other faiths, and there is nothing wrong with that. Christ welcomed and welcomes all. We must love one another, even in our differences.
Outside of our circle of friends, we have acquaintances. These are people we work with, and that’s where it ends, or they can be neighbours or even people we see when out shopping or walking the dog – people we say hello to, and little more.
We must remember that there are people who are very much isolated and live alone. They may feel forgotten, even shunned by society, and these may include the elderly, those suffering illness, the homeless, the destitute, etc.
However helpful, a pet, television, radio, social media, etc, it cannot take the place of a human being, but at least it is something comforting and present for them. This is where we can be on hand for these people, not forcing our way into their lives, but to simply ask if they are okay and let them know we are there for them.
Social media has opened up the world of friendships and relationships in general, in a way our ancestors or even people 20 or 30 years ago, would not believe. Yet even social media and particularly the tools we use to utilise this, can have a downside. Phone addiction is becoming something of a problem, and like all addictions, can be harmful. It may have a detrimental effect on relationships of all types – especially marriages where the other partner may feel they are playing second fiddle to Facebook or Twitter!
Some of the friends we have added on social media may not be close friends. We may like to chit-chat with them, but that’s all it comes down to. Some people on social media have added us or us them and we can’t remember how it happened! So yes, there are inherent dangers with social media and as Christians, we should be careful how long we spend on social media (especially if it is affecting relationships, situations, etc). We must also be mindful and careful of the content we are looking at and allowing into our mind.
Of course, one cannot stress the good that social media can do. It allows us to discover old friends we knew from the past and reconnect with them. We can add new friends we have just met, keep in contact with family, work from home, study, etc. Social media can be a godsend to those who are lonely or miss their family and friends.
The first COVID lockdown has seen social media come into its own as people meeting has been lessened. Now with this second lockdown, social media will once again, come into its own. Of course, seeing people on screens is not the same as meeting people in person, but it is better than nothing for many in the world. It is a way for people regardless of race, nationality, religion, etc, to keep in contact in these dark days of COVID.
The church is not backward in coming forward when it comes to technology. The church, Christian individuals and organisations are using the internet to keep in contact and spread the Gospel. Christians have often utilised the technology around them to keep in contact and spread the message of Christ.
Even many centuries ago whether it was the fast transport system of the Roman roads or later the printing press, Christians have used these to spread the word. Then, with the advent of radio and television, Christianity took to the airwaves, and so now with the advent of the internet, Christians are using the tools the net provides, to further the Kingdom of God.
Proverbs 17:17: “A friend loves all the time and a brother is born for adversity”.
John 15:13: “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friend”.
God bless you, X.
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