There is nothing worse1 than a youth worker who deliberately adopts the slang of the young people he works with in a vague attempt to be cool. However, if you’ve ever hung out with anyone for anytime you’ll notice that you pick up on their phrases and mannerisms and there is not much you can do about this. So without trying to be the moron pretending he likes the new JLS single you can find yourself quite naturally using words like “merc”, “my ends”, and “your mum”. The reason being –and this’ll not be surprising to the youth workers– a lot of the language is quite clever, quite useful, and invented out of the necessity of needing a phrase to fill a gap. The phrase “beg friend” is not one of those phrases. This is, as written by a bona-fide young person, what a beg friend is:
When mans gets excited and tries to get involved wid pps so they can be bredrin wid.
And because that’s mostly meaningless, this, as written first time round by a bona-fide young person before he was chided by his youth worker for being too smart, is what a beg-friend is:
When one person instigates an action in order to impress or befriend another person of equal or higher standing within societies echelons.
Here’s an example. Imagine you are a cool young person hanging out in school with your other equally popular mates3. Clive, a kid from lower down the popularity chain comes up to you and says “oh, I’m going to the shop at break, do you want anything?” Clive here, is being a beg friend. He is trying to do something for you so that you’ll be impressed with him. And obviously the expression starts here and the spreads into other areas. You offer to help someone out with their homework and they turn around to you and say “stop being such a beg friend”. Your mate shares his chips with you at lunch time, so you call him a beg. You ask your mum to pass you the salt, she does, your mum is such a beg mum. And so on. So it’s an evil expression because it takes what is an act of kindness and mocks the giver. And it’s worse, because in doing this you teach yourself that asking for someone else’s help is weak and pathetic and to be despised. Who would want to be a beg friend of anyone?
While he [Jesus] was in one of the cities, there came a man full of leprosy. And when he saw Jesus, he fell on his face and begged him, “Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.” (Luke 5:12)
You are a beg friend of Christ. You come to Christ as someone who can bring Him nothing whatsoever. You have no power over Him, nothing He wants, nothing to bargain with. You come to Him dependent on His mercy and grace. And so you come as someone who can only beg for forgiveness and grace and mercy. And in Christ’s grace and mercy He gives them to you. You did not earn his friendship, you begged for it and He gave it you.
1 Hyperbole. A lot of hyperbole. Hyperbolic hyperbole if you will.
2 That’s maybe not the young people.
3 On reflection this is not perhaps the easiest thing for most youth workers to imagine.