Proverbs in 365 Devotions

Proverbs 18:24 A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

Thumb Up Or Real Relationships?

R Aylor

Most often we human beings favor friendship over enemy-ship whenever possible. We are creatures who want to be liked. We typically feel better about ourselves when many people like a post we put on social media… And if we happen to have a lot of followers on twitter or friends on Facebook and Instagram then that gives us a sense of clout and makes us look and feel important and loved.

And in the real world where thumbs up and thumbs down are actually messy relationships where we see one another flaws close up... we still long to be loved.

I think social media platforms have cultivated this defensive way of communicating… a false sense of cheap friendship and accountability and a need to have an abundance of so called friends. Our brokenness drives us to make everything we type about us… Whether wanting sympathy for ourselves for our hardships or making ourselves look good with doctored photo’s or clever quips.

These things are not what I see as true friendships. Solomon said: A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

A person who is extremely obsessed with being liked will compromise their values and beliefs just to be elevated. A good example is seen in many politicians who may have begun with well intention. But when they soon realize that they need something comparable to likes or thumbs up… namely votes… they begin simply saying what the people that they happen to be addressing want to hear. And from day to day they make subtile changes and make clever soundbites and make acquisitions against those who are trying to get more likes than they have. I think Solomon is telling us that this self-righteous need for glory or a false sense of worth may bring their life to ruin.

And yet he says there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. In the best scenario a brother can be an amazing friend as well. He will keep you from being bullied at school… he will take you to the carnival… he will pick you up and haul you out of bad company… he will bail you out of jail… In his love for you he will discern when to say hard things that might risk making you angry… but you are bound in something stronger than blood… it is true friendship. Thats the kind of friend we all need…

And yet no one can truly live up to that model 100%. We are all broken… We all desire to be liked… We are tempted to seek out glory for ourselves that has the potential to ruin our lives. We are drawn to be self absorbed.

Jesus said this in John 15:

John 15:12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15 No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.

Jesus went all the way for us… Are their any friends on social media or at work… or any next door neighbor who would choose beforehand to pay all our debts… Who would intentionally give their own Son to die for our sins… and he would do that willingly because he loved us with this kind of friendship… Jesus shows us an example of another aspect of friendship… it is an opening up of ones life to another. Jesus said he has made know to his disciples all that he heard from his Father….

 

Social media and email… and… texting… these all enable us to show a stand offish, defensive type of communication…  Not a open book love like Jesus has for us. He was willing to go all the way… to get his life messy and get his hands dirty to reach us even to the extent of being paid the wages of our sin on the Cross… then to defeat all the brokenness by overcoming death itself. These things he did because he made us a friend closer than a brother… it was all for our good and his glory.

Thank you Father and thank you Jesus for making us a true friend. Help us to not seek to be well know and liked for our own glory but that we might love one another and develop messy relationships that we might help one another to see you as the greatest treasure in the Universe more and more.