Unfriending the Friendless

A couple of weeks ago while struggling through a rather lackluster workout, I found myself mindlessly surfing dozens of television channels trying to find something to divert my sluggish focus and my “why do I even bother” attitude. (Working out or engaging in any sort of regimented physical exercise program at my age can at best be described as challenging especially while peddling endless miles on a bike going nowhere.)

It being a mid-day weekday, daytime TV as is often the case, offered little in the way of intellectually stimulating programing. Given the choice between yet another raunchy show about brainless, spoiled, siliconed, botoxed Housewives, a cake decorating show on the food network or a snooty dog show, I opted for the snooty dog show. And not just any dog show, mind you, but the crème-de-la-crème of dog shows, the Westminster Dog Show. (The “big dog,” if you will.) Cause let’s just face it, watching the food network for a food addict like me is akin to watching porn.

I muted the dog show while listening to a rocking music CD allowing me to add my own scintillating commentary to the dog show.  It may have not been accurate but was sufficiently entertaining enough to allow me to complete my 15-mile goal for the day.

I was enthralled watching the pretentious judges who were every bit as snooty as the competitors.  The judges were decked out in evening gowns and diamonds, wearing perfectly coiffed up-dos.  They pranced about sizing up champion dogs being put through their paces. The judges peeled back jowls and oral tissues to examine gum lines, inspected eyes, ears and tails, and ran their hands over canine coats that had been bathed, brushed, fluffed and spit-shined. The pooches preened hoping to impress with their perfect pedigrees and impeccable dispositions. The judges were thorough in their inspection. A flawed canine didn’t stand a chance under the judges’ meticulous perusal.

As I watched the competition I started thinking that we humans are lucky we don’t have to suffer under such thorough judgment and scrutiny. And that’s when I heard it. Oh really? There it was, that still small voice whispering in my spirit challenging my moral convictions. Sadly I realized, we humans are that judgmental, and then some. Oh wait, maybe that’s just me.

My epiphany was based on a recent situation with a Facebook friend. If I’m really being honest, this person is someone I don’t really know well.  I couldn’t pick them out of a lineup if my life depended on it.  I went to school with them a million years ago.  But Facebook doesn’t have a category for “Acquaintances,” only “Friends.”  Facebook can be a misleading medium, convincing us all we’re popular if we have several hundred “friends.” Ahhh, but, that’s a post for another day.

This Facebook friend posted something personally offensive a couple of weeks ago generalizing Christians as a whole. This person expressed their opinion that all Christians were hypocrites, while at the same time boasting their atheist beliefs. The writer hinted at childhood trauma and abuse and a strong resolve to live out the remainder of their life wallowing in un-forgiveness and bitterness towards the family that had hurt them.

I’m not going to lie to you … my first instinct was to immediately “un-friend” them. (Or is it “de-friend?  I’m not really sure).  My friend offended me and their judgment of me and my people.  That’s when I heard that little voice chastising me for instantly judging this person because of their broad statement and their unbelief. I’m no better than the atheist who judges ALL Christians because of their faith, if I judge ALL atheists because of their unbelief.  Aren’t we all guilty of judgment if we question anyone whose opinions differ from our own?

Rather than instantly un-friending this person I opted to keep them on my friend list and to pray for their damaged heart. Each time this person’s profile or comments pop up on my home page, it prompts me to keep praying for this troubled soul in the hopes that God can find a way to reach them.

I pray that somehow this “friend” will learn that forgiving isn’t for the benefit of those that have hurt us but it’s for our benefit that we need to forgive.

Life teaches us many things that still ring true: Don’t judge a book by its cover; don’t’ judge a dog by the condition of his coat or teeth, and don’t judge your friends by their Facebook posts. Most importantly, don’t “unfriend” the friendless cause everybody knows “You’ve got to have friends.”

A good friend is cheaper than therapy. ~Author Unknown

A friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need.” Proverbs 17:17 (NLT)