Every year New Oxford American Dictionary names a “word of the year". A new expression emerging from people’s conversations. The last editions have usually chosen entries from the virtual environment.

That was not different for 2009. The word chosen is 'Unfriend'. The definition is: a verb that means to remove someone as a ‘Friend’ on a social networking site, such as Facebook, as Reuters reports it.. Probably the same meaning of clicking ‘unfollow’ on Twitter.

A bad word to be awarded with such a distinction, don’t you think? Unfriend. Ok, sometimes we need to avoid certain companies when they are not friendly But it’s definitely not good news to be unfriended personally whether in the virtual world or in real life.

There’s a familiar hymn among Christians that goes: “What a friend we have in Jesus.”. Whether in the virtual or the real world He connects to our hearts by faith and doesn’t leave it - unless we unfriend Him. He won’t press the button to unfriend us because he is not guided by emotion. Neither will He let the humor of the day or a harsh message scribbled on a wall cause him to delete us. Not even severe critiques make him let loose. He doesn’t push buttons to remove people and profiles. The Master gave His own life for all human beings which means He’s not going to send someone overnight to the spiritual trash bin. The world, the internet and people today may be hasty in all that they do, bur Christ always has time for us. For all time.

And so sometimes someone decides to unfriend us in the real or virtual world. That kind of thing happens. But what we cannot allow to happen is forgetting what a Friend we have in Him. And not only ‘a’ Friend but The Friend that never defriends or unfriends us. His words, his verbs, they compel us to connection and action

A real friendship to be lived and shared with our real neighbors. Even when they are virtual.

Text revision:
Kim Starr
Wisconsin, USA
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