Yesterday we explored "What if?" you started something that would draw people together for fellowship. Today I challenge you with:
- Do you know other believers well enough to know when they are hurting or lonely?
- Do you respond when God shows you that another believer is hurting or lonely?
- Do you frequently give (of your time, money, energy) even when there is nothing for you to gain in return?]
This is quoted from another Christian blogger concerned with loneliness in our churches, Alan Knox http://www.alanknox.net/
I love blogging dialogue. This morning I received an email with this comment posted on yesterday's blog: Hi Kay!
I'm on my way out the door to work when I came upon this series.
I'll be back later when I have more time to read and digest because I REALLY think you're talking to me!!
I get lonely sometimes, but WHAT IF I reached out to others that are lonely, too? Then, in spiritual fellowship, we could share our feelings and establish new relationships.
Knitter--that's me--you've spoken to me this morning!!
I'll be back later!!
I remember an old book by Tozer, Rut, Rot or Revival. Way back in the late eighties I found this book and I loved the title, but my pastor thought it was severe. Soon after that our church had a big conflict and he was allowed to resign and the church has never gotten back to any true strength. He never pastored again. Today I would add one more "R" word: Revolution.
God is stirring up His people. Seems our pastor is stirring up a "what if" revival/revolution within each of us and God is releasing it through us. So thank you, Sailor Cross, I needed your comment to fuel me in facing and doing all that I can for the lonely I encounter. God, thank You for this blog world.
Back to the lonely............
- Folks with physical disabilities have confessed that greater than their physical pain has been the pain of isolation and loneliness.
- Older parents share the intense pain of loneliness in rarely seeing their adult children.
- Some people from minority groups who have been excluded from social activities feel very lonely.
In a nearby SC community with many international companies a primary secular mission is commissioned to help the lonely isolated spouses of the executives working here. I cannot imagine being away from my homeland and family, uneasy with the language and no one in my neighborhood ever rings my doorbell to welcome me.
It just seems logical that as followers of our Savior, we should be reaching out to the lonely all around us. Not only will we reach out to them with the time we have, but we will point them to God. Only God can meet the needs of the lonely. And here is the good news. In Jesus He has revealed Himself as "Immanuel," which means, "God with us."
Dr. Dean Ornish is concerned that loneliness may be the greatest threat to our society.
He has seen in his research that people who are lonely, depressed, and isolated are three to five times more likely to develop serious illness or to die prematurely. He concluded:"
I’m not aware of any factor in medicine – not diet, not
smoking, not exercise, not stress, not genetics, not
drugs, not surgery – that has greater impact on our
quality of life, incidence of illness and premature death
than the healing power of love and intimacy. Yet the
need for love and intimacy often goes
unfulfilled." (Love & Survival: The Scientific Basis for the Healing Power of Intimacy.)
Let me conclude today with some good news. Here are some healthy ways to replace loneliness:
Pick up the phone and call a family member, friend, or an acquaintance.
- Go to the store or an event and be friendly with people you encounter.
- Go outside and take a walk. Let nature speak to you.
- Get a pet to care for and cuddle with.
- Get involved in a hobby you enjoy.
- Talk to God about how you’re feeling and express your love to him.
Do you have any tips for the lonely? What thoughts do you have on the church addressing loneliness?