The art of friendship is a long-lost quality that the modern culture has completely underemphasized. It used to be highly valued; a staple of adult etiquette. People cared about those around them and paused to take the time to show it. A simple cup of tea and a cookie shared with a kindred spirit meant more then any virtual comment or email ever could. Over the years the importance of talking face to face, sharing a meal, or even hand writing a letter has “gone of out style” with the culture.
In an age where facebook and twitter epitomizes the nations’ friendship status, the selfish population is left to themselves--just what they want. That is the way it should be, right? No. Who can really enjoy spending day in and day out without being touched by anyone who truly cares? No friendly neighbor dropping in. No envelope addressed in well-known cursive. No cheery phone call. No sincere friendship. Everything is computerized and impersonal. Yes, social networking, “e-groups,” blog posts, and instant messaging allow people to exchange words in cyberspace, but that can hardly be considered camaraderie.
Communication has become so easy that people no longer have to sacrifice more than a quick minute to say “hey.” Flipping through countless ego-photos, sending any number of a electronic hugs and smiles, posting “likes,” or carrying on brief but surface conversations cannot equate a portion of time deliberately taken out of a daily schedule and devoted to spending the afternoon in the home of a friend. Talking to a friend is relaxing and stimulating. Like a steaming cup of coffee and a cozy blanket and a good book on a chilly afternoon, a friend will always be there to comfort and encourage, ready to conquer the problems of the world, smile through the tears, talk sense when needed, or simply make another mocha.
Being a friend is hard and takes a substantial amount of energy to keep up biblical gregariousness. But God’s disciples are called numerous times in Scripture to surmount this difficult task. Proverbs 17:17 says, “A friend loves at all times and a brother is born for adversity.” Christians need to be available to support and sympathize with fellow believers; in short, extend the hand of amicable friendship. Throughout the Bible, God says to love one’s neighbor, do good to him, and have a brotherly affection for him. Friendship is not an option, but rather an obligation as a son or daughter of God the Father.
Genuine bonhomie takes time. It must be a conscious endeavor to be sympathetic to the hurting, loyal to the unloveable, merciful to the quirky, compassionate to the suffering, faithful to the fickle, sensitive to the weak, considerate to the offended. One has to live sacrificially--especially when it is inconvenient--in order to maintain healthy affable conviviality between brothers and sisters in Christ. Giving up personal plans and desires is one of the hardest but most important acts of kindness someone can demonstrate to a friend. A person trying to live this in this mindset is well on the way to being the type of person that everyone desires to befriend.
Face to Face- Steve Wilkins