Living in an Age of Faux Friendships
William Deresiewicz examines the new forms of friendship that have emerged in the age of Facebook. While social media has allowed us the opportunity to be connected to everyone, it more often than not comes at the expense of deep, meaningful, shaping friendship. He wrote:
[The] classical friendship, its commitment to virtue and mutual improvement … has been lost. We’re busy people; we want our friendships fun and friction-free ….
With the social-networking sites of the new century—Friendster and MySpace were launched in 2003, Facebook in 2004—the friendship circle has expanded to engulf the whole of the social world, and in so doing, destroyed both its own nature and that of the individual friendship itself.
Facebook’s promise is that it makes our friendship circles visible. There they are, my friends, all in the same place. Except, of course, they’re not in the same place, or, rather, they’re not my friends. They’re a [superficial likeness] of my friends—little dehydrated packets of images and information, no more my friends than a set of baseball cards is the New York Mets ….
William Deresiewicz, “Faux Friendship,” The Chronicle of Higher Education (12-6-09)
True Connection – The One Another Principle
In contrast to the world’s idea of superficial and scattered friendship and connectivity is the New Testament concept of “one another.” The Greek word allelon appears one hundred times in the New Testament. Most often, it is translated “one another” or “each other.” It expresses the mutuality and community that is an inextricable part of our faith.
When we practice the “one another” principle, we benefit both others and ourselves. We experience community. In that fellowship, we experience God’s love more fully.
One of the most vivid ways the Lord Jesus reveals His intention for the church is by a series of statements given about our responsibilities to one another.
Looking at the “one another” principle in the New Testament provides us with a tremendous study of what mutual support looks like in action. Here is a list of 33 of those “one another” statements.
In the Body of Christ, we are to:
- Wash one another’s feet (John 13:14)
- Love one another (John 13:34 and many other times)
- Be devoted to one another in brotherly love (Romans 12:10)
- Give preference to one another in honor (Romans 12:10)
- Be of the same mind toward one another (Romans 12:16; Romans 15:5)
- Stop judging one another (Romans 14:13)
- Pursue the building up of one another (Romans 14:19)
- Accept one another (Romans 15:7)
- Admonish one another (Romans 15:14)
- Greet one another (Romans 16:16)
- Wait for one another (1 Cor. 11:33)
- Care for one another (1 Cor. 12:25)
- Serve one another through love (Galatians 5:13)
- Bear one another’s burdens (Galatians 6:2)
- Show forbearance to one another (Ephes. 4:2)
- Be kind to one another (Ephes. 4:32)
- Forgive each other (Ephes. 4:32)
- Speak to one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs (Ephes. 5:19)
- Be subject to one another (Ephes. 5:21)
- Regard one another as more important (Phil. 2:3)
- Do not lie to one another (Col. 3:9)
- Teach one another (Col. 3:16)
- Comfort one another (1 Thes. 4:18)
- Encourage one another (1 Thes. 5:11)
- Be at peace with one another (1 Thes. 5:13)
- Pursue good to one another (1 Thes. 5:15)
- Consider one another (Hebrews 10:25)
- Do not speak against one another (James 4:11)
- Do not complain against one another (James 5:9)
- Confess your sins to one another (James 5:16)
- Pray for one another (James 5:16)
- Be hospitable to one another (1 Peter 4:9)
- Clothe yourself with humility toward one another (1 Peter 5:5)
The church body is where we live out true relationships on a deep and satisfying level. Where we give and receive help, where we can truly care and be cared for, and where we can experience a community of people with whom we are preparing to spend eternity.