In our bustling age of women being wives, mothers, business women, and entrepreneurs, we are often tempted to believe that all of our “networking” and “social media engagement” has us more connected to each other than ever before. We don’t even have to get dressed up to attend a party anymore, as we can simply log into Facebook and “party” online instead… in our pajamas! Win, win, right? Not so fast. Let’s examine the Biblical definition of friendship, and apply that in our 21st century context. Let’s test how connected we truly are.
Screens Can’t Replace Physical Contact
“And let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.” Hebrews 10:24-25 (NASB)
The writer of Hebrews addresses this very idea when he reminds us how important it is to meet together. He is speaking of the churches as a whole, but this directly affects women’s interaction together as well. It is a choice. It takes conscious effort.
Our connections online, while helpful, encouraging and convenient, simply cannot replace the physical, face-to-face contact that truly touches our hearts. We can create an online presence that gives false impressions, and we often feel bold to share our thoughts, opinions, or even judgments without fear of consequence or noticing a ripple effect over the web. And if someone directs comments at us that we don’t like, we can simply turn it off and push it from our mind, rather than dealing with the issue and possibly restoring a relationship. Online-only relationships are basically risk-free, while face-to-face relationships are entirely risky.
The writer of Hebrews reminds us not to just gather together, but to do so with purpose. To encourage and build each other up in the good works that God has created for each of us to do. Again, that can happen in a minimal way online, but there is no replacement for grabbing your sister’s hand after she has shared her heart with you, and praying over her right at that moment. Now that is a thing of Heavenly beauty!
Working Together Accomplishes More
“Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up.” Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 (NASB)
Ever had a time when you fell… and fell hard? Where life came to a crashing halt and the loneliness was painful? Solomon tells us why it felt so painful. Because we were not meant to do it alone. We were designed – created – for community. All the work and effort we can muster up pales in comparison to what can be accomplished as two (or more). This is a hard one to swallow in our individualistic, self-sustaining society. (Hey, I am the guiltiest of all… I LOVE doing “it all” myself.)
And when the day comes that we do fall (and it will), woe to the woman who has no girlfriends to lift her up! We need friends. We need a community (even a small one) of women around us!
The Sweetest Counsel
“Oil and perfume make the heart glad, so a man’s counsel is sweet to his friend.” Proverbs 27:9 (NASB)
Almost daily, I feel like I need advice. Whether it is for mothering, marriage, cooking, getting out a carpet stain, or even for an appropriate choice in eye shadow hues. Some of these topics are light, fun, and truly trivial. Others are heavy, serious, and life changing. Regardless, I need women in my life. And so do you. We need counsel. Solomon (this man was certainly wise!) compares the counsel (advice) of a friend (this word is key) to oil and perfume – sweet, inviting, soothing. Sounds like something we’d appreciate, right ladies?
The word “friend” is of upmost importance in this verse. A friend loves you, cares about you, and supports you. A friend can be honest with you because she wants your very best. You can truly listen to what she has to say with an open mind. You seek the benefit of each other. A friend’s counsel is truly sweet, just as Solomon said.
Do You Have A Friend to Walk With?
After examining these three scriptures, it becomes obvious that a friend who you can physically walk next to is a gift from God! An intended, and irreplaceable, piece of life on this earth. Do you have one of these friends? Have you become so focused on finding friends online that you’ve neglected to make physical, meaningful, sweet friendships with those around you? Don’t forsake this piece of your life, sister. And remember, she needs you as much as you need her. Let Jesus build that friendship in your life today!