Friendship has been a major topic of research for some time now. It's easy to understand why: no one has friends anymore. It is said the average American man is the loneliest he has ever been in history, and American women don't fare much better. For all of our gadgets and gizmos to connect us, we're more isolated than ever. Even churches have failed in this respect.
Continuing my theme from Wednesday, we used to have songs about friends. Some were about heaven, too; "I'll Meet You in the Morning," "If We Never Meet Again," and "I Dreamed I Searched Heaven for You" all express our love of others and our hope (or concern) for their souls. Nowadays, we don't have songs like that. Why? Because if we're scared to offend anyone by asking about the state of their soul outside the church, why would we sing about it in church? It'd be hypocrisy.
To be fair, few of us have meaningful friendship inside the church. The rise of the megachurch, no matter how you feel about it, gave birth to the idea of anonymous church attendance -- you could get in and get out without having to speak to or get to know anyone. We are far poorer for that loss. The same mentality applies at home and at work, too. A coworker asks if you're busy a certain time, and you say "yes" before he or she even gets out the date in question. Someone comes to your home unexpectedly, and you hide in hopes they'll give up and leave. Gone are the days of deep friendships beyond the age of twenty-two -- the end of the college years.
We need friends -- not just family, but genuine friends. It isn't good for us to go through life isolated and alone. We are called to bear one another burdens, and friends keep us from depression, loneliness, and anxiety. They share in life's joyous moments, too. And the very best friends love you enough to tell you the truths about heaven, hell, and a Savior.