Decades of research substantiate the devastating effects of social isolation. Loneliness is equivalent to smoking 15 cigarettes a day and increases the risk of death by 26-45%, which is on par with risk factors such as high blood pressure, obesity, and lack of exercise. —Advisory.com
The Lord established the church as the home of the lonely people, among other things. Where people are united, reconciled, forgiven, fellowshipped, and loved.
Let us welcome the lonely into our congregations and make a place for those who have no real relationship in their lives.
Read 1 Kings 18:41-19:10 and you’ll find Elijah wrestling with some unhealthy emotions.
Such is the reason the Gospel Advocate’s “Foundations” Study Book (Winter 2017, Elijah the Tishbite, Lesson 5, p. 65) asked, “Why do you think Elijah felt so alone? What can we do when we feel this way?”
Here are a few answers from my perspective to each question. Continue reading
Do you ever feel alone? When we feel that way, we’re probably not really alone. Feelings don’t do a good job of reflecting reality. They’re a result of our interpretation of events and situations. Since our views of reality are often skewed, our feelings seldom reflect what’s really happening.
But let’s say, for sake of argument, that there are times when we’re really alone. Isolated. Estranged. Closed off from people. What would that be like? How would we really feel? Continue reading
“‘A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families, he leads forth the prisoners with singing; but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land” Psalm 68:4-6.
I’ve had two periods in my life when I have been very lonely. As an exchange student in Japan, I was cut off culturally and linguistically from those who cared about me. Then, I student-taught at a school that was geographically isolated. I understand why solitary confinement is such an effective punishment for social beings. Lonliness is our biggest problem today, and as a minister I’ve often wondered why those lonely I work with can’t help each other out of their loneliness. Sometimes personalities or other struggles keep them from it. But one thing is for certain. God sets the lonely in families. He’s not always speaking of physical families; God doesn’t promise you a spouse and kids. But certainly a spiritual family, the household of God, the church. But, just as in a physical family, being a member of God’s family comes with responsibilities, give and take, and takes work to keep all relationships governed by love.
How are you building up the members of God’s family?
Plattsburgh church of Christ
author of Kin of Cain
“Grendel and his mother are dead … but something survived.”
Happiness is contagious, but loneliness is catching as well. A study by John Cacioppo, a University of Chicago psychologist, says recent research shows that “when you feel lonely, you are more likely to interact with others negatively” which simply increases your sense of loneliness. Lonely people tend to drive a wedge between them and their friends, the most likely solution to their loneliness, and consequently often spiral downward into depression. The solution is to take personal charge of our feelings and no longer allow outside influences to control how we feel. This is Just-A-Minute with Ed Boggess.