If God were on Facebook, would he “friend” you?
Of course, as Christians, we know he would because he’s God and, well, he’s awesome that way.
But if God weren’t our perpetually loving companion and creator, would we give him reason to be friends with us?
A recent talk by St. Anthony Messenger Press author Beth Knobbe examined the nature of friendship in our fast-paced, social media-driven world. When we can go onto Facebook and see our list of 500-plus friends, are we losing sight of what it means to be a true friend to someone?
Think about what friendship means to you. Knobbe, whose latest book, “Party of One,” will be released early this fall, reminded her audience that friendship is rooted in authenticity, loyalty, equality and mutual investment.
Chances are, at least half of your Facebook “friends” wouldn’t meet the criteria associated with those core tenets. Most people probably realize that on some level.
But that takes us back to the original question: Would God friend you?
- Authenticity: Do you allow God to know you intimately? Do you talk to him and share with him your true self? No matter what we do or think, God knows it and loves us anyway. Yet, do you find yourself running from him because of fear or shame? And when you do something that hurts him, do you ask his forgiveness?
- Loyalty: Do you stand by God? Do you keep your promises to him? Do you love him through thick and thin, even when you’re not sure what his role is in your life? Do you return his love and kindness? If he were physically here among us, would his life be better for having you in it?
- Equality: As Knobbe says, “Genuine friends don’t keep score.” When you pray for something and don’t get what you want, do you essentially keep score with God? Is there a sense of mutuality in your relationship with the Father?
- Investment: “When we want what is best for our friends, our investment is to put their needs ahead of ours,” Knobbe says. Do you do that for God? Do you act on his behalf to help the poor or the oppressed, simply because it makes God happy?
For most of us, those questions are challenging and potentially uncomfortable, but there are remedies if we come up with answers we don’t like.
Think of how you maintain relationships with your human friends, and take it from there.
- 1. Have a meal with God.
- 2. Sit and spend time with him, with no agenda. Just get together and hang out.
- 3. Apologize to him if you’ve done something — or if you have failed to do something.
- 4. Remind him from time to time how much you love him and how important he is to you.
- 5. Thank him for all the ways he has touched your life.
- 6. Make plans with him, so you both have something to look forward to.
The good news for us is that God does send us a friend request, every single day. All we have to do is accept it.