There are more than seven billion people on planet Earth, but even though we’re surrounded by other people, there’s never been a time in History where more people describe themselves as “desperately lonely.” The Epidemic of Loneliness has reached a fever pitch, but the Good News is that it can be stopped and replaced by rich, life-giving relationships.
God created us with the need to live in authentic community with each other. We will break free from loneliness when we decide to adopt God’s plan for relationships instead of false imitations. Here are a few of the most important relationship principles from God’s Word to replace loneliness with community.
1. Be Yourself. I know that sounds simplistic, but most people aren’t doing it. The world tells us to become somebody we’re not to make friends, but if you’re not being yourself, then your “friends” aren’t friends with you…they’re friends with an imaginary character that you play. Be authentic, be real and expect your friends to do the same. Being anything else is exhausting.
2. Invest in Others. It takes time to build meaningful friendships and more time to keep meaningful friendships. Time is the Currency of Relationships, so invest your time in the ones that matter most. Dennis Rainey has said that with every decision, “We’re either moving towards intimacy or towards isolation.” Be intentional about moving towards intimacy in a healthy way.
3. Be Friendly. The Bible says in the Book of Proverbs that, “If you want friends, be friendly.” Simple but true. In practical terms, it means taking the time to genuinely listen after you ask someone how they are doing. It means being thoughtful and remembering the occasions that are most important to others. If you want good friends, you’ve got to start by being a good friend.
4. Serve where you are. We’ve all got God-given gifts that have been given to use to be used to build community, to bring joy to others, to bring contentment to ourselves and ultimately to bring Glory to God. Find a place to use your gift whether it’s teaching, or working with your hands, or creating, or cooking or whatever it might be. As you serve alongside others, you’ll be building friendships and building community at the same time.
5. Start with God. St. Augustine said that, “Our souls are restless until they find rest in God.” The bottom line is that we were created to be in relationships and the primary relationship is with God made possible only through our Savior, Jesus Christ. In Him, we can find fulfillment, peace and a friendship that will last. Even when it feels like the whole world is against you, God is for you! He loves you, He’s with you and He will never leave your side. Trust Him and let Him be the Cure for Loneliness in your Soul.