They are found in schools, workplaces, homes, bars, restaurants, and especially in churches. They are married, single, divorced, widows, widowers, wealthy and every hue.
One can be alone but not lonely, likewise one can be very lonely while surrounded by family and friends in a crowded room.
Lonely people are all around us. Are you lonely? Loneliness is the subject of many songs; ‘Alone Again, Naturally,’ by Gilbert O’Sullivan, ‘Only the Lonely,’ by Roy Orbison, ‘Lonely People’ by the rock group America; and the Beatles placed this issue in the public conversation with their song ‘Eleanor Rigby’ and asked, “All the lonely people, where do they all come from?”
According to Bruce Y. Lee of Forbes.com (1 May 2018), in a survey conducted by Cigna Insurance and Ipsos, a market research firm, found “…many Americans feel alone and lonely.” Their survey of over 20,000 Americans ages 18 years and older revealed the following.
“46% felt alone either sometimes or always. 43% felt isolated from others. 27% rarely or or never felt as though there are people who really understand them. 43% felt that their relationships are not meaningful. Only 53% have meaningful in-person social interactions.
There is something wrong in our culture and it is not hard to understand what it is. God created humans to have relationships. The first and most important relationship is with God through His Son Jesus Christ.
We are created for relationships with other people. We each need a relationship with God through His Jesus and with other people who can encourage, challenge, share life with, have friends and to be a friend for the good.
Jesus explained how to have good relationships when He said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang the whole Law and Prophets” (Matthew 22:37-40).
Loving God, others and ourselves is not always easy. Often, we discover loving God is conditioned on how well our life is. If things go well, loving God is easy. If life is terrible, our love for God weakens and even stops.
We each have difficult people who are hard to love in our lives. If we don’t, won’t or can’t love God, we cannot love others properly. It all starts with love for God.
God loves us so much that “He gave His Only begotten Son” (John 3:16) to pay for our sins, to redeem us. In other words, God loves us so much He gave His best so that we could have His best, a relationship with Jesus, God’s Son.
If you are lonely, Jesus understands your feelings. He too felt lonely different times in His life and certainly awhile on the Cross. What did Jesus do to get through the loneliness?
Jesus understood His purpose on earth. To redeem humanity from the clutches and penalty of sin. Jesus left Heaven to come to earth to pay a debt for our sin we could never pay.
Purpose gives us meaning and reason for living no matter what life brings us. You have purpose, you have significance, you have value. Jesus said, that “God loved you so much that He sent His Only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). This is how valuable you are to God!
Jesus looked past the cruelty, injustice, and pain He endured and saw what was laying before Him (Hebrews 12:1-3). In other words, Jesus knew and saw something better was to come. You may not be able to see it now, but there is something better waiting for you.
What should we do for lonely people? What can churches do for lonely people? More next week.
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