Only the Lonely, Part 1
‘Time in the Word’ By Clayton Adams
They are found in schools, workplaces, homes, bars, restaurants, and especially in churches. They are married, single, divorced, widows, widowers, wealthy and every color. Perhaps you are one of these?
I am speaking of lonely people. 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 ask, “All the lonely people, where do they all come from?”
One can be alone but not lonely, likewise one can be lonely while surrounded by family and friends in a crowded room. Perhaps the loneliest people are seniors who have, by the events of life, been abandoned by family, outlived their friends or for various reasons are unable to participate in activities of our culture. The second loneliest group of people are young folks. Despite the ability to reach out and touch someone through technology, most young people do not have the opportunity to have meaningful, purposeful and healthy personal relationships.
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, such as having an extended conversation with a friend or spending quality time with family daily. The loneliest generation of adults was Generation Z or those 18 to 22 years old.”
Is there something wrong in our culture? Yes, there is and it is not hard to understand what it is. Many will disagree but it is as simple as this, God created humans to have relationships. The first and most important relationship is with God. Second, we are created and innately wired for relationships with other people. Simply stated, we each need a relationship with God through His Jesus and with other people who can encourage, challenge, share life with, have friends and 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 22:3740).
Jesus, the master teacher summed all the Old Testament Laws, principles, precepts and teachings into two commands; Love God with all you have and then love others as you love yourself.
Let’s be honest, 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.
Too, 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. Remember, love is a choice and not a feeling.
We need to understand that 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 while on the Cross. Jesus got through this loneliness by doing two things. I recommend these two things to you.
First, Jesus understood His purpose on earth. To redeem humanity from the clutches and penalty of sin.
His purpose was to die in our place 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!
Second, Jesus looked passed 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. There will be questions, you will have doubts and weaknesses but remember, God loves you no matter your circumstances.
What should we do for lonely people? What can churches do for lonely people? More next week.
Clayton Adams has a message of faith he would like to share with the community. He would also like to hear from you. E-mail him at claytonpadamslll@ gmail.com.