What is it? What causes it? How do we change it?
The dictionary defines loneliness as “affected with, characterized by, or causing a depressing feeling of being alone, lonesome. The saddest thing is you can be completely surrounded by people and still be lonesome. We see it every day in bookstores, coffee shops, work, schools, churches, nursing homes, hospitals…..Perhaps seeing it at church is the saddest place of all since Christians are suppose to love God and love people which you would think requires that we be sensitive to those around us and consciously make an effort to reach out and make all people feel included, part of the group. Yet, most of us are so broken ourselves that we can’t/don’t take the time to look around and see that we’re not alone in our brokenness. There are lots of lonely people, everywhere.
The source as you might guess is the devil and his natural way of life, sin. Satan’s primary aim is to break up as many relationships as he can. He did that in the garden of Eden between God and Adam and Eve who went from walking with God to being put out of the garden and separated from God and between Adam and Eve themselves who after that diabolical bite hid from God and started blaming others for their sin. He’s been doing it ever since. If you think about it, it only makes sense since our primary purpose in life is to love God and love others and messing up relationships puts a cold towel on our ability to love.
As my wife likes to say, to have a friend you must be a friend and friends and family are the cure for loneliness. But first we have to change how we think about ourselves and others. What I mean by that is we have to see ourselves as God sees us. Seems simple enough but it requires a mindset change since we have first have to unlearn all the negativity we’ve heard all our lives about self and others. We have to stop, think and act biblically with ourselves and others. Doing that requires knowing God personally, intimately and experiencing first hand God’s sanctifying love that changes the way we think, talk, behave. In other words “renewing our minds”, Romans 12: 2, changing how and what we think by using God’s word as the filter through which we experience life and interact with others. “Speaking the truth in love” as detailed in Ephesians 4: 15-24 which entails speaking truth and not lies, controlling our emotions, being obedient to God’s laws, loving and forgiving others the way Jesus did, and extending grace at every opportunity. Living and interacting with others as God’s called out family with the Spiritually empowered character and loving lifestyle described in Matthew 5: 1-11.
In short, if we’ll follow the leading of the Holy Spirit in our lives and submit our lives to following God’s agenda and not our own, then we’ll see that loneliness is a thing of the past and we really can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. And, as loneliness is replaced by loveliness, people will naturally, inexplicably be attracted to us.