When I woke up this morning, I snatched my Phone lying near my pillow with my half bolted eyes, turned off the annoying beeping alarm, and immediately sitting in the school van updated my Facebook status. “On the way to school sitting in a cozy corner seat”. I scrolled through my friends’ status updates and timelines and with a smile updated my status with the song that I was playing on my music player. In the evening, at the coffee stall, I took pictures of me and my friends and uploaded it via the Facebook utility that I downloaded from the app store. Now I am lying in my bed with my laptop charging and chatting with my friends.
“Celebrate the happiness that friends are always giving, make every day a holiday and celebrate just living…Had a beautiful day.!!!Good night all….” Such is the day of a characteristic youth of Today
Since its inception in 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook has taken the cyber world by storm impacting our social lives perpetually in a different direction. It came into being in Feburary 2004, when Mark created a website which connected the schoolmates of Harvard University. It was first known as Face Mesh. Within a short span of time, the website grew tremendously in popularity when it was opened to the world. In the year of 2008, Facebook surpassed all other social networking sites to become the largest social website in the world. A study conducted by Compete.com has ranked Facebook as the most used social network in the world. They say the average user has 130 Facebook friends and spends more than 55 minutes a day on their site. According to Facebook’s own stats page, there are currently more than 350 million active users.
Since then Facebook has not only created a history, but also has inscribed an era, which is believed to have considered in creating a very strong and wide network of communication with its capability to connect people across the globe. Facebook has opened doors of communication that didn’t exist in the past.For twelve years, Facebook has been on a mission to connect the world, Facebook now connect more than 1.65 billion people. It has united old friends, helped to keep families connected, and has also has explicitly paved opportunities to proclaim the Gospel. Unfortunately, however, not everything that Facebook has brought us is good. In several ways Facebook is like a casement into one’s soul. It allows others to see a person’s hobbies, current status, activities and habits. They can see everything from pictures of his holiday to his favorite songs and websites. Truly, Facebook reveals more about us than we might at first realize.
Are there Biblical principles that should govern our use of Facebook and similar sites? Do we really get to find a friendship that we wish for? Do these friendships utter out the ultimate meaning of friendship?
The human heart hungers for relationship. We have a deep need to connect. There is a tickle in the human heart that Facebook pokes. I realize that part of the draw of Facebook is, it provides a amusing and convenient way of staying up-to-date with people we know. But, I believe there is something deeper going on too. Our need to connect, to be known, to be heard, to be seen, to matter, to belong, to be loved is also what draws us. How else can we explain the odd need people have of posting photos of what they are eating? Or, the multitude of other useless bits of information we share as our status updates? “I’m here. I want someone to know that. I want someone’s attention. I want someone to care about me.” What is the missing connection that we have lost or that we lack? Why is this need for relationship, for connection, so strong in us?
First its all because we were made that way. God created us for relationship. We are wired for relationship. Second, the need for relationship is so strong in us because the most important relationship we were created to have, a relationship with God, has been broken. This relationship is so fundamental, and the loss of the relationship or link with God has left such a immense vacuum within us, that we are perpetually on edge craving for it, whether we are aware of it or not. Our alienation, our feeling of disconnectedness, of solitude, of isolation, of never being completely known and understood by anyone, is a consequence of our wrecked relationship with God. As we toil in this pilgrim’s land, do we really come across a friend who is everything to us? Do we end up finding up a true friend or relationship from this entire virtual and temporary world? Being born of the flesh and blood, we do have broken relationship with God. This broken relationship has always left a void in our lives. This void within us keeps urging for mortal support, relations and friendships, which always has distinct limits. Why is the cyber generation or Facebook generation infatuated with Facebook? The young generation has become so frenzied within the globalized world that they don’t even have time to glimpse the bible nor have time to have a conversation with the creator, but would rather have an adequate amount of time be logged-in round the clock awaiting and posting updates.
What if Jesus were on Facebook? I want you to use your imagination and pretend that you log-on to Facebook one evening, and finds that Jesus has sent you a friend request. What would you do? Would you have to impede and think before you accepted it? What Is there anything there that would make you stop and say to yourself, “I think I’ll delete that before I let Jesus on my site… Once again use your imagination. Imagine that you are surfing Facebook and you see that Jesus has his own site. You are excited so you send him a friend request. Would he accept it? Most of us, when we receive a friend request, have some sort of criteria before we indiscriminately accept someone as our friend. We want to know if we know the person. We glance at his information, his friend list, where he lives, etc. But what about Jesus? Does he have criteria for friend requests? Sure he does! He said, “Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you” (John 15:14). Therefore, to be a friend of Jesus, you have to abide by him. In light of this, ask yourself, “Would Jesus accept my friend request?” Before you answer the question, consider your faithfulness in attending worship, your Bible study habits, your efforts to teach others, your giving, the way you treat other people, etc. Now, with your answers in mind, “Would Jesus accept your friend request?”
Our need to connect, to be known, to be heard, to be seen, to matter, to belong, to be loved, can in fact be met just in a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. There is a missing link that we have lost and have been seeking for. Friendship seems to be a natural part of human life that we probably don’t stop to think about what it is and where it came from. Yet understanding why God created friendship is important for understanding ourselves and God. Jesus Christ is the concrete expression of God’s love for us. However, He was, completely different from us in his righteousness and holiness, brought us to the table of God’s friendship through his reconciling work. Jesus tells his disciples, “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” (John 15:15). As Peter Slade writes in his book, Open Friendship in a Closed Society, “This is no easy designation. Jesus indicates the magnitude and cost of such a statement by linking friendship with the greatest possible human love for, as Jesus explains, ‘No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends’ (John 15:13). God’s love is unconditional, and wants not even a single soul to perish. He so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, so that not even a single soul would perish. We were no bargain to God. We did not look very much like a valuable jewel. Yet He took us with all our worthless baggage, rottenness, debts, nastiness and wickedness. He drew us to Himself ignoring everything in us that was foul and corrupt. Then like a heavenly valet, Jesus cleaned us up, gave us a complete makeover, clothed us in righteousness, girdled us with immaculate grace and made us fit to enter the presence of the King in His beauty. That effort and love for humanity left the Lord soaked in his own sweat and blood on the trodden grass of Gethsemane.
Jesus Christ can save us from our terrible fate. We were never bothered nor eligible to send a friend request to Jesus, rather through his Son, Jesus Christ; God has sent us the ultimate “friend request” (John 15:16).One of keys to bearing the lasting fruit of Jesus is knowing and remembering that He chose us, we did not choose Him. To know that we have been chosen, selected by God almighty should leave a deep impact on our souls. This knowledge of the truth should liberate us (John 8:32).God wants to connect with you and me. He wants a relationship with us. He has done everything necessary to make that possible. But, to be “friends” we need to respond to that request. We need to accept it. What Jesus Christ has done to reconcile the human race to God is not automatically applied to all people. It is only applied to those who respond, who believe in Jesus, who receive him into their lives. We can have the most important relationship we were created for restored, through Jesus Christ. We can be forgiven. We can have our guilt taken away. We can have a new purpose for our life. We can have our “emptiness” filled. We can have the hope of eternal life. To begin this new relationship: we need to believe that Jesus Christ died as a sacrifice for our sins and came back to life to give us eternal life; we need to recognize and admit we have sinned, living our life for our self, instead of for God; we need to repent, which means we need to change the direction and behavior of our life and start following Jesus Christ; and we need to ask Jesus to come into our life and begin to make us into the person he wants us to be.
As I pen down this lines, I still have a song playing in the background of my computer” What a friend we have in Jesus”. Its one of the best Hymns to me, this hymn is a tremendous hymn as far as its insight; the explanation who God is. It is a very sentimental hymn and an emotional view of Jesus as a friend. It is very easy to be a friend of Jesus according to this hymn, because Jesus is always there when we need him. He bears our burdens and cares for us. All we need to do is take these burdens to him in prayer. This hymn was written by an Irishman Joseph M. Scriven whose life was struck with tragedies. He lost his childhood love just a day before his marriage, brokenhearted he moves all the way from Ireland to Canada. After spending a few years in Canada tragedy strikes him again and all his hopes and dreams were shattered when his second love Eliza becomes ill and dies weeks before the wedding could take place. Around the same time that Eliza died, Joseph received word from Ireland that his mother was ill. He could not go to be with her; He loses all his hopes and finally finds the only solace in Jesus. Scriven then turns to God for consolation and guidance and he writes a letter of comfort and enclosed one of his poems entitled What a Friend We Have in Jesus. describing the extraordinary friendship that had given him purpose and hope in the face of devastating pain. Joseph in this poem describes the essence of a right relationship with God, He saw the creator not as an impersonal force to be feared but as a loving father and friend,who’s greatest desire is to carry our burdens and to ease our pains. Do we have Jesus in our lives as Joseph Scriven had?
What if we spent as much time each day in Bible study as we do on Facebook?
What would your spiritual life be like if you spent that much time in Bible study and prayer? Here’s a question? Are you a daily user of Facebook but you’ve told yourself you’re too busy to study your Bible every day? The answer may make you stop and think about your priorities. Jesus said, “but seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness” (Matt. 6:33). Just think back why do we crave and toil for our earthly friendships? Do we really hunger for the friendship of a friend, who in anguish and love has soaked in his own sweat and blood on the trodden grass of Gethsemane and all the way to Golgotha? Before I went to bed tonight I decided to spend one minute on Facebook. Status update: “Reading my Bible. No more Facebook tonight.”