In January of this year, Britain appointed its first “Minister for Loneliness.” We live in a time and a society where loneliness is on the rise. Vivek Murthy, former surgeon general, wrote that loneliness and social isolation are “associated with a reduction in lifespan similar to that caused by smoking 15 cigarettes a day and even greater than that associated with obesity.” Some of the reasons that might contribute to a rise in loneliness may include: Individualism – People in today’s society have a greater sense that they are on their own against the world. The modern family is more dispersed, moving away to seek better job opportunities. More and more people are working from home or else out on their own. Communication plays a large part in how we interact (or don’t interact) with each other and who we allow in our inner circle. We are aware of all the tragedies and bad news from around the world in real time and it can give a sense of hopelessness and despair. Smartphones, the internet, and social media give us the illusion that we are connected, but it is without personal social interaction. In this world it is easier to disconnect, unfriend, block, get depressed, or just isolate when things go wrong than do what it takes to build and maintain relationships.
Psalms 68:6 tells us God’s answer for loneliness. “God places the lonely in families; he sets the prisoners free and gives them joy.” In the book of Acts, the believers met together to study God’s word, pray, and fellowship with one another. There was great joy as they developed relationships with those of like-mind. The most important relationship we must develop is with God; the second is extending that relationship to a community of believers. Generations and Small Groups are only two of the ways we can develop and function in healthy relationships within God’s family here at Southside. Jesus came to serve, not to be served and one of the most valuable things we can share is ourselves: our time, our talents, and our energies in serving others. Find something to do with your hands and with your heart to serve the Lord and his family and I promise, you won’t feel lonely.