This afternoon, as I was waiting for a bus, I had an opportunity to help someone learn more about the bus system. I gave him a schedule for the bus we were about to catch, I taught him about bus numbers and bus routes, and I taught him a few tips I had learned from riding the bus so much myself. Now, I don't know who that guy was, and I may never see him again, but I feel like we had a small connection. Helping him felt a lot like helping a friend. And in reality, that's not far from the truth.
On Facebook, when someone asks to be your friend, or when Facebook suggests someone it thinks you should be friends with, the website often tells you how many friends you have in common. As I said, I didn't know the guy at the bus stop, and as far as I know, I don't know anyone who knows him, unless we're counting God.
As I rode that bus the stranger and I caught, I thought about how God knows and loves each of us. He is, in a fairly literal sense, a friend to all. So, whenever you meet someone, whether you know them or not, you can at least know that they're a friend of a friend. You can know that someone whom you care about and who also cares about you also cares about them. Granted, not everyone on earth is good friends with God. There are people that we shouldn't necessarily trust, despite them being a friend of a friend, but we can still be nice to them for that reason, if no other.
God loves everyone and wants us all to be happy. If we want to make God happy, we can accomplish that by making others happy, too. When I helped the man at the bus stop, I didn't think about why I was doing it, but I'm glad I did. I didn't know whom I was helping, and I still don't know who the guy is, but that doesn't matter. We don't have to be friends with someone in order to want to help them, but even if we did, we could still justify helping people by remembering that just about everyone we'll ever meet is a friend of a friend.