Of all the great things that Facebook has done in connecting people, there is one major disservice it has done. It uses the word “friend” as its word to link people together. Right now, I have 319 “friends” on Facebook. I never accept requests from people I don’t know, but I am at least acquainted with all of them. However, if you asked me who my friends are, I would not be able to name 319 people that would fall into that category. It would probably be more like 100, including, of course, my church family. The others are pastor friends, people from college and high school that I’ve kept up with, various family members, and people who are a part of my life. My good friends are even fewer, and they are the ones who know me and, against all odds, still like me.
The reason I don’t like that the word “friend” has been hijacked is that it has such a rich meaning, especially when you look in the Bible. Good friends are important to have, which is one of the major themes in Proverbs and other places. Bad friends can be detrimental, and even fatal. How many people have we heard of were good people, but with “the wrong people at the wrong place and the wrong time.”? It happens too often. But the Bible not only talks about the importance of having good friends, but in being a good friend.
Mr. Friendly is someone who loves a person no matter the external in life. Proverbs 14:20 tells us “the rich hath many friends” and Proverbs 19:4 says: “Wealth maketh many friends.” But Mr. Friendly loves his friends whether they have money or not. He doesn’t care if they are sick, healthy, in a good mood or a bad mood, near or far. He doesn’t allow minor conflicts to destroy his friendship. He believes the words of Proverbs 17:17: “A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.”
Mr. Friendly looks for ways to show his appreciation and love for his friends. Many people mope about not having good friends, but they are unwilling to be a good friend first. Showing friendliness and love is how Mr. Friendly has so many friends. Proverbs 18:24 “A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.” He is ready at a moment’s notice to help or to give aid. He makes his friends a priority. Proverbs 27:10 says “Thine own friend… forsake not.” He does not remember past offenses, but seeks to try to cover them, so that others don’t think less of him. Mr. Friendly will not repeat damaging information, but will try to defend his friends. Proverbs 17:9 says “He that covereth a transgression seeketh love; but he that repeateth a matter separateth very friends.” He will be the one to say, “I know her, and what you say isn’t true!” He will not believe the idle gossip and pass it on, but looks for ways to show his love for his friends. He is always hoping he can bless his friends (Proverbs 27:9)
This doesn’t mean that Mr. Friendly never acts negatively toward his friends. On the contrary, since Mr. Friendly loves his friends so much, sometimes he has to say hard things to his friends. Proverbs 27:6 says “Faithful are the wounds of a friend,” and Mr. Friendly sometimes has to wound his friend by being honest about blindspots in his life, but he is always seeking to help, and will only hurt when there is good that can come from it. He wants to sharpen his friend, as a whetstone will make a knife more useable. Proverbs 27:17 says: “Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.”
Mr. Friendly is a great asset to his friends. He is not a liability. They can trust him, not only with private information and secrets about themselves, but with their well-being in mind. Mr. Friendly is perfectly personified in the person of Jesus Christ, who said in John 15:13 “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” A good friend is willing to give his all for his friends. Mr. Friendly is the kind of friend you’d want, isn’t he? You need to be Mr. Friendly to someone else, whether they are on Facebook or not.