A Christian response to loneliness.
by Nick Bishop
Through the internet and other electronic means of communication, we live in the most interconnected world ever in the history of mankind, yet loneliness is the scourge of our age. On Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms we have the so-called ‘friends’ but are they really friends?
A study put out by Relate in 2014 claimed that 5 million people have no real friends. However, this may be an oversimplistic view of loneliness, as one can be lonely in a crowd.
Many of us have experienced isolation, misunderstanding and disconnection. Loneliness hurts and it’s painful to our sense of self. Loneliness can make you feel invisible and dramatically diminish self-worth. In extreme cases, whatever form your loneliness takes it can result in depression and occasionally develop into mental health.
Studies suggest that loneliness can result in people feeling angry, resentful and blaming the world, groups or individuals for their plight.
Many people living alone or isolated families, can feel abandoned as communities are not what they once were. It was once said people left their doors open because everyone knew and trusted each other. Sadly in many areas of the UK today this is not the case any more.
As Christians, it behoves us to check on our neighbour (especially if they are elderly, lonely or ill) as Jesus instructed us to do. To make sure they are okay, whether they attend church or not.
On a wider scale, there are charities and churches that help the lonely through various activities. We can become involved in those activities and do our bit to help people, groups and communities who feel no one cares.
We can all make a difference, and it starts with a simple truth: ‘Let us do unto others as we would have them do unto us’. Jesus made this plain enough in Matthew 7:12 as to how we should conduct ourselves to others and in this case the lonely and vulnerable.
I will end with a quote from Mother Theresa:
“The greatest disease in the West today is not TB or Leprosy; it is being unwanted, unloved and uncared for. We can cure physical diseases with medicine, but the only cure for loneliness is love. There are many in the world dying for a piece of bread but there are many dying for a little love.
The poverty in the West is a different kind of poverty — it is not only poverty of loneliness but also spirituality. There is a hunger for love, as there is a hunger for God”.
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