This Blog is on Loneliness. Author Lee Strobel writes: People today will admit any problem – drugs, divorce, alcoholism – “but there’s one admission that people are loath to make, whether they’re a star on television or someone who fixes televisions in a repair shop. It’s just too embarrassing. It penetrates too deeply to the core of who they are.” People don’t want to admit that they are (sometimes) lonely. “Loneliness is such a humiliating malady that it ought to have its own politically correct euphemism: ’relationally challenged.’ Or its own telethon. Anything to make it safer to confess. Because right now it’s a taboo, an affliction of losers and misfits. And – to be honest – of respectable people like you and me.”
A conference on loneliness reported that, contrary to popular belief, it is not old people who are most lonely, but teenagers. Dr Gary Collins, who is a professor of psychology and a Christian author, writes like this: ‘We live in a loneliness producing society’. Isn’t that interesting? A loneliness producing society, ‘where rapid change and modern technology discourage intimacy and stimulate loneliness.
Mother Teresea said
“We have drugs for people with diseases like leprosy. But these drugs do not treat the main problem, the disease of being unwanted. That’s what my sisters hope to provide. The sick and poor suffer even more from rejection than material want. Loneliness and the feeling of being unwanted is the most terrible poverty.”
According to Los Angeles psychiatrist, Dr. Leonard Zunin, despite the fact that the average American meets as many people in one year as their ancestors met in a life time 100 years ago, loneliness is the main problem facing Americans today. Everyone needs friendships.
Two popular songs that impacted me and my thoughts on loneliness are following. Both songs relate to suicide but the central issue in these two songs is about being alone.
Some of the Lyrics of Hold On are:
This world, this world is cold
But you don’t, you don’t have to go
You’re feeling sad you’re feeling lonely
And no one seems to care
You’re mother’s gone and your father hits you
This pain you cannot bare
But we all bleed the same way as you do
We all have the same things to go thru
Hold on…if you feel like letting go
Hold on…it gets better than you know
Some of the lyrics to Blink 182’s Adam’s Song
I never thought I’d die alone
Another six months I’ll be unknown
Give all my things to all my friends
You’ll never set foot in my room again
You’ll close it off, board it up
Remember the time that I spilled the cup
Of apple juice in the hall
Please tell mom this is not her fault
Former Politician Mark Latham said this
Well I think our major problems in Australia are social, not economic, I mean we’re a prosperous nation with a long, long period of economic growth and you compare that to the horrific increase in family and community breakdown, the rise of mental illnesses, social isolation, whole range of problem our young people face these days. The paradox has been as the economy has grown rapidly, the quality of society has deteriorated just as rapidly and I think it’s more important for people to think about ways in which you can address those social problems than play the political game which inevitably at election time is about economics.
I read this week about a man at the age of 71, who had retired in the state of Detroit in the States, and he spends most of his everyday playing solitaire – which is a card came that you play with yourself. In ten years playing this came he has recorded completion of 132,400 games, he has recorded the results of each one, and he can show any visitor six ledger books full with all the figures
There was once an advertisement in a Kansas newspaper that read like this: ‘I will listen to you talk for 30 minutes without comment for five dollars’. It sounds like a hoax, doesn’t it? But it wasn’t long before that individual who had placed the advertisement in the newspaper was bombarded by about 10 to 20 calls a day.
Loneliness was the first thing that God said was not good. It was not good for man to be alone.
Friendship is a powerful thing
Weep with those who weep and laugh with those who laugh
In my bible this is in a section of Romans that is titled – How to behave like a Christian.
Job speaks of his friends in Job 6:14-17, 21
14″One should be kind to a fainting friend, but you have accused me without the slightest fear of the Almighty. 15My brother, you have proved as unreliable as a seasonal brook that overflows its banks in the spring 16when it is swollen with ice and melting snow. 17But when the hot weather arrives, the water disappears. The brook vanishes in the heat.
21You, too, have proved to be of no help
How sad for Job that when he needed his friends they were no where to be found
Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane needed close friends for support – but he found his mates, asleep
We need to understand the power of our presence to support our friends and wider network of people in our world
Look at this verse from the bible
20Reproach has broken my heart and I am so sick
And I looked for sympathy, but there was none,
And for comforters, but I found none.
Message paraphrase version says it this way
20 I’m broken by their taunts,
Flat on my face, reduced to a nothing.
I looked in vain for one friendly face. Not one.
I couldn’t find one shoulder to cry on.
What Causes Loneliness- Some of the causes:-
Hurts from the past – therefore coping mechanisms – vows that you don’t need people
Low Self Esteem
Trying to find your worth through others
Preoccupation with self
Poor People Skills
You make excuses for others – oh they would be too busy
George Barna (Researcher in the US the surveys churches and Christians) has shown the importance of relationships within the church. Christian church-goers were asked about the importance of a variety of factors when deciding whether or not they will return to a church that they have visited. Among a number of factors considered when choosing a church, the importance of the friendliness of the church was assessed. The results were as follows:
• 53% indicated that how much people cared for each other is a key factor in determining whether or not they will return to the church.
• 45% indicated that the friendliness of the people in the church is a key factor.
• 12% indicated that the number of friends they have attending the church is a key factor in deciding whether or not they will visit again.
As I was growing up in the 80’s, I used to watch the sitcom Cheers and I used to think that the theme song would make a good song for a church….you want to go where everyone knows your name.
Here are some bible verse on the way we treat people.
Prov 3:7 Don’t be impressed with your own wisdom.
Instead, fear the Lord and turn away from evil.
Prov 6:19 A false witness who utters lies,
And one who spreads strife among brothers.
Prov 12:25 Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs it down,
But a (good word makes it glad.
Prov 15:23 A man has joy by the answer of his mouth,
And a word spoken in due season, how good it is!
Prov 16:24 Kind words are like honey—
sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.
Prov 17:9 Love prospers when a fault is forgiven,
but dwelling on it separates close friends.
Prov 19:6 Many seek favors from a ruler;
everyone is the friend of a person who gives gifts!
Prov 18:24 A man who has friends must himself be friendly
Prov 17:17 A friend loves at all times
Prov 19:22 What is desired in a man is kindness,
Prov 21:23 Whoever guards his mouth and tongue
Keeps his soul from troubles.
Prov 28:20The trustworthy person will get a rich reward,
Prov 29:11 A fool vents all his feelings,
But a wise man holds them back.
It is important that we realise that loneliness is one of the greatest problems that 21st century society faces. If you are lonely right now, one of the key things is to not give in to Self Pity. Here is a blog I wrote on The Destructive Emotion of Self Pity. I would suggest as part of your solution to loneliness is to take the advice of Proverbs 18:24, A man who has friends must himself be friendly. Maybe its time to activate the friendship side of life. Invite people over for a meal, join a friendly church if you don’t attend one already. When it comes to strategies to over come loneliness, I read this on one blog: Take a tip from the happiness literature. The recent research on happiness reveals the secrets of happy people and shows the way to cure the lonely, heavy-hearted blues. The research suggests that the happiest people are those who are outgoing and optimistic types who go out and make good things happen, rather than waiting for good things to come to them. Another suggestion to make new connections is to join a service club like Rotary or SES.
If you are lonely right now, I hope you find some deep and meaningful connections soon. That is my prayer for you.
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