“A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother (Proverbs 18:24).”
I have become a big fan of social networking this summer. Facebook, Twitter, Email and blogs have all filled up my summer schedule. But yesteday a colleague asked for some help at work and I visited the workplace. (I am away from the office this month.) It was refreshing to talk to some real flesh and blood people and catch up. One colleague invited me for coffee and we had a nice chat. Then I went downtown and got some fresh air. While out and about I decided I was going to take a sabbatical yesterday from the computer since I was enjoying myself so much.
Don’t get me wrong. I still intend to blog, post on Facebook and send Emails. I have caught up with a lot of old friends this way recently. I even keep in touch with my closest friend by Email. Still, I have been reflecting on why I would rather do social networking than spend time with people face to face. I think it is an issue of control. On the computer I don’t have to deal with people as they are in reality. On Facebook I see them put their best face forward (literally!) and if I don’t want to read or respond to a post, I don’t have to. This isn’t true with family, friends, work colleagues and neighbors. I have to interact on a personal level with them warts and all. And they have to do the same with me.
Yet, despite the difficulties of personal relationships, I still think it is better to have close personal friends and family nearby who would give their lives for me. David had a friend like this, Jonathan the son of Saul. Jonathan loved David with all his heart (I Samuel 18:3). He supported him and protected him at great cost to himself. Jonathan did this even though he had an irascible father who didn’t much care for David and tried to kill him. This created quite a balancing act for Jonathan. He warned his best friend of Saul’s intentions. Yet, he still supported his father, dying with him in the final battle of Saul’s reign. Jonathan gave his life to protect both his best friend and his family.
Would that we all had best friends like that at hand.