Statistical data from 2021 showed that 63% of men and 58% of women in America felt “lonely.” Our ministry receives phone calls from people who say, “I just need to talk to someone.” Because we invite questions and discussions in our printed material and online, we get communications from various lonely people. The Church can answer loneliness.
One of God’s answers to loneliness is marriage. In a Christian marriage, there is always someone to talk to, share with, and care about. I vividly remember sitting in my kitchen the night after my wife died and being overwhelmed with loneliness. In Genesis 2:18, God says, “It is not good for the man to be alone: I will make a suitable helper for him.”
I found that being with people was important to me, even though I am not a very social person. “Suitable helper” refers to filling in what man cannot do for himself. It does not imply servitude but an equal. Galatians 3:28 tells us that no matter who or what we are as Christians, “we are all one in Christ Jesus.” That is how the Church can answer loneliness.
The description of the first-century Church shows their cure for loneliness. Acts 2:42 says, “They continued steadfastly in..fellowship.” Verse 44 says, “Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common.” Verse 46 says, “Continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and singleness of heart.” The Church can answer loneliness, but driving to a building, sitting by yourself, and watching a worship service once a week does not deal with the issue of loneliness.
We do a great deal of work in prisons and nursing homes. On those rare occasions when we are allowed to go into a prison to be with inmates, we often hear that the most significant pain they experience in incarceration is loneliness. Frequently, these men and women are in prison because their drug habit started when they were in the depths of loneliness.
One of the great tragedies of nursing homes is that many folks are placed there by family and are never visited again. Recently, a blind man in a nursing home we regularly visit told me that losing sight wasn’t as bad as losing time with people he loved.
Rejecting God and His people is an invitation to loneliness. Visiting a bar or a club is a band-aid approach to fighting loneliness. We need to spend time with others of like faith and be active in the joy of serving others. Matthew 25:31-40 describes Christian activities that nonbelievers cannot comprehend, but they another way the Church can answer loneliness.
— John N. Clayton © 2023
Statistics reported by Mark Young in the December 16, 2023, issue of Power for Today.