According to blogger Leah Hickman “America has a loneliness problem.”
In an article in ChristianHeadlines.com Hickman reports that “the health insurer Cigna recently conducted a survey on loneliness in the United States. In the final report, about half of the 20,000 respondents said that they struggle with loneliness—specifically, “sometimes or always” feeling alone or left out. The study also found that two out of every five respondents felt isolation, a lack of companionship, or a lack of meaning in their relationships.”
“According to an NPR article on the survey, these results echo past reports on loneliness in America. Other reports have found that “20 to 43 percent of Americans report feeling lonely or socially isolated.’”
Multiple reports show that loneliness can be traced to those dealing with various health problem who feel alone. Elderly people also suffer from loneliness, especially when they’re isolated from family members.
Interestingly the one group most prone to loneliness is the so-called Generation Z, those born between the mid-1900’s and early 2000’s. Apparently social connections on facebook is not a substitute for real relationships. In fact, research has demonstrated “people who spend less time looking at screens and more time having face-to-face social interactions are less likely to be depressive or suicidal.”
The group with the lowest loneliness score? Those over the age of 72.
The Bible teaches that God created us for community. He meant for life to be experienced together. In the very beginning, He said, “it is not good for man to be alone” (Gen. 2:18) Thus, he made the man a woman and ordained marriage and the ordered the arrangement of the home. When husbands and wives truly love one another and children are born into this union and cared for as the Bible teaches, the problem of loneliness is greatly diminished
God also formed a spiritual family for us to belong to. The Bible calls it the church. The various “one another” commands in the Bible speak to the importance of being an integral part of a church family. We are called to “belong to one another.” “Care for one another.” Comfort one another.” “Encourage one another.” And “love one another.” When the community of Believers function as God directed no one should ever be alone.
Furthermore, Christians have a responsibility to “to do good to all people” (Gal. 6:10), love our neighbors (Matt 22:37-40), and seize opportunities to be a “Good Samaritan” to those who are hurting and helpless (Lk. 10:25-37). Christians can help alleviate the feeling of loneliness when we are serving the needs of others.
It seems that a good deal of the loneliness problem is a failure to follow God’s plan. Dealing with and solving the problem of loneliness is a dual duty. In the first place, each individual has a responsibility to belong. When we isolate ourselves from our families, are not connected to a church family, and become a social recluse, we are going to be lonely. Each person must seek to give. To share. And to be a part of the community.
The English poet John Oxenham expressed it this way:
“Art thou lonely, O my brother?
Share thy little with another!
Stretch a hand to one unfriended,
And the loneliness is ended.”
Secondly, those who are connected and emotionally healthy bear a responsibility to those who are hurting, lonely and isolated. Some people through the circumstances of life find themselves alone through no fault of their own. Those suffering the death of a loved one. The divorced. Single people. The aged in a nursing home. People who’ve been transferred by their employer to a new location.
God calls us to minister to those who are weak. Suffering. Sick. Aged. Alone. And hurting. (Rom. 14:1; Jas. 1:27: 1Cor. 12:26; 1 Thess. 5:14). Reach out through a visit. A phone call. A card. A text message. Help them feel connected.
Finally, when we feel isolated and lonely, let us, like King David, turn to the Lord for comfort, consolation, and strength (Ps 25:16-21). When we have the Lord in our lives, we are never truly alone..
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman