There was a very interesting article in the December 22, 2016 edition of The New York Times titled “How Social Isolation is Killing Us.” It focused on the problem of adult loneliness. The article points out that since the 1980’s, the percentage of American adults who say they struggle with loneliness has doubled from 20% to 40%.
Belonging, love and attachment
However, the problem may be far worse because accepting and admitting our loneliness can be quite embarrassing. Admitting we are lonely causes us to think we have failed in the most important arena of life: belonging, love and attachment.
I think this is a clear indicator that God made us relational beings. If we were not designed to live in relationships with others, there would be no problem with loneliness.
Author Donald Miller says:
… the words alone, lonely and loneliness are 3 of the most powerful words in the English language. These words say we are human; they are like the words hunger and thirst. But they are not words about the body, but the soul.
He goes on to say,
I think it is interesting that God designed people to need other people. Our souls need to interact with other people to be healthy.
There is nothing more detrimental than isolation
Phillip Zimbardo is a psychologist that teaches at Stanford and has made this observation; “There is nothing more detrimental to a person’s life than isolation. There is no more destructive influence on physical and mental health than the isolation of you from me and us from them.”
The Bible is quite clear, we need each other. In Romans 12:5, in the Amplified version we read that “we are mutually dependent on one another.” Isn’t it interesting that God designed us to need each other, to be mutually dependent on one another. I guess this explains why we become so dysfunctional when we live in isolation.
It strikes me that the loneliest moment in life must be when we are facing death and must step into eternity all alone. There is no one to go with us, it is such a solitary experience.
The Christian life is a relationship with Christ. It is knowing Him and walking through life with Him. Most significantly, he promises to walk with us through the valley of the shadow of death. The good news of the gospel is that in Christ, you are never alone.