Joni and Friends Blog

A Cure for Loneliness

…when it comes to the Christian community, no one should feel alone.

The other day, I came across a survey that made me reach for my phone. A disability organization in the UK called Sense *found that half the people with disabilities they surveyed confessed they are lonely; one in four said they are lonely every day. Sure, life is a little different “across the pond,” but I’m guessing those statistics hold true here in the US, too. In fact, I have an inkling who some of those lonely people might be. And so, today I’m reaching for my phone and calling friends who are weighted down by loneliness.

Loneliness is on the rise. Even though technological advancements make communicating easier, more and more people feel left out; as though they have no friends; they feel like they’re not “the most important person” in anyone else’s life! And as studies show, dismal emotions and feeling shut-away from people can breed some pretty serious health concerns.

Look, when it comes to the Christian community, no one should feel alone. God never intended that we feel cut off, alienated and lonely; “it is not good for man to be alone,” God said in Genesis 2:18. It’s why God created spiritual community: Psalm 68:6 says, “God sets the lonely in families.” Even if that “family” is a few Christian friends in the same apartment building… or a small group that encircles a special-needs mom with love… or, you and a couple of neighbors who befriend the elderly man down the street.

Years ago when I got out of the hospital, I felt so lonely when all my friends had gone off to college or were busy with jobs. That’s when my cousin Eddie would come visit regularly with his “environmental recordings” of ocean waves, thunderstorms, and babbling brooks – while I enjoyed the beautiful sounds of nature (which, at that point, I could not go out and enjoy), Eddie would read a book out loud to me. I so looked forward to his visits!

With just a little intentionality, I believe you can find ways to do face-to-face time with someone you know who feels lonely. Elderly folks living in nursing homes and people whose disabilities keep them isolated at home can easily wonder if anyone cares. Please, would you create a little “spiritual community?”

This February 11th has been set aside as Shut-In Visitation Day.

Today is an extra reminder that there are people who would love a visit from you, whether you know their names or not!

You can ask your church leadership for the names of one or two people who can’t make it to church, or you can check with local nursing homes and assisted-living centers to learn their policies for visitors. And, of course, if you know someone who is shut-in, give them a call and ask if there’s a time this week you can drop in (and take a little gift to brighten their day :-).

The Bible makes a big deal about visiting the lonely. James 1:27 says that visiting orphans and widows in their affliction is what pure and undefiled religion looks like. And in Matthew 25, Jesus says that when we visit the sick, he considers it as though we are visiting him! What a high honor!

So, reach for your phone and make a call… then, arrange a visit! It’s not just a nice thing to do; it’s the godly thing to do!

 

*www.sense.org.uk/support-us/campaigns/loneliness

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