And as the word “religion” has become more and more distasteful, Christians have tried to bill their faith as a “relationship,” or even a “friendship.” But definitely not a “religion.” Religion sounds cold and ritualized. We want friendship.
The problem is, God doesn’t want to be your friend. And He doesn’t want you to be His friend. And calling what we have with God a “relationship” may just be really confusing things.
God Has 3,143,158,604 New Friend Requests
The word “friend” used to mean something really specific. It was more than an acquaintance. We may have a hard time defining “friends,” but we know exactly who are our friends and who are not. Your friends are people who have important things in common with you.
But in our Facebook world, the word “friend” suddenly means a lot more. A “friend” doesn’t really need to have a relationship with you at all. The most remote, six-degrees-of-separation-relationships can now easily be promoted to “friends.” All it takes to be someone’s “friend” is to “friend” them. That’s funny, “friend” was never a verb before.
Let’s Keep This Simple and Not Be Friends
We understand that there are lots of people we should not be friends with that we have very good relationships with.
Good parents understand that they are not their kids’ friends. Kids can have plenty of friends. They only get two parents, if they are lucky.
Teachers understand that they can be friendly with students, but they are not friends. It’s why I don’t allow students to call me by my first name, or tell them my age when they ask. Trying to bring “friendship” into these situations mucks everything up.
But when it comes to God, we like our deity the way we like a President. We want a down to earth guy who we could have a few beers with. We want God to be our pal…and to pay for everything.
That sounds appealing, but saying that we have a “relationship” with God is really misleading and kind of dishonest. If we treated any of our other friends like most of us treat God, we wouldn’t have any friends in a few months. If we talked to our spouses as sparsely as we talk to God, we would be divorced. The fact is, most of us say we have a “relationship” or “friendship” with God, but we mean that in a Facebook friend kind of way. It’s not the kind of interaction that could make a real friendship or marriage.
And if you do happen to be a really spiritual, “religious” person, think about what would happen if you treated your friends like you treat God. It’d be weird.
And He Will Be Called…
…Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, BFF.
The fact is, only one guy in the whole Bible was ever called God’s friend, and that was Abraham.
And God never, to my knowledge, called himself a friend to anyone. He has nothing in common with us. Kind of hard for God to be friends with anyone.
And Jesus, when he wandered around, didn’t ask guys, “Hey, want to be my friend?” He didn’t grab some buds to watch the big game with and bribe them with six packs and hot wings. And he certainly was no one’s boyfriend. Not then, not now.
When Jesus met someone he wanted to enter into a relationship with, he defined the relationship outright.
Jesus isn’t looking for friends.
He’s looking for followers.
Am I right, or am I right? What do you think? Have we let this “relationship” thing get out of hand? Have we stopped treating God like, well, God?