Pastor’s Corner: Lonely

All crave meaningful relationships. But, did you know that since the 80s the percentage of American adults who say they’re lonely has risen from 20 percent to 40 percent? That those spending two or more hours a day on social media are twice as likely to feel socially isolated, or lonely than those who spend half an hour or less per day?
Data pooled from 70 studies (3.4 million people) revealed socially isolated people have a 30 percent higher risk of dying in the next seven years. This effect is greatest in middle age. And, elderly people who are socially isolated are twice as likely to die prematurely.
You may recall a time when there were only a few channels on our television sets, and no such thing as pc’s, cell phones, or social media. A time when, after the evening meal, mom and dad would go out on the front porch to visit, and the kids would play. This is not to say that things were perfect then, or that technological advances are bad. However, we knew one another better then than we do now, and we were less lonely as a result.
God created us to be in community. He united Eve with Adam (Gen. 1:27; 2:20-23). The very first word in the Lord’s prayer is, “Our…” (Matt. 6:9). The Bible tells us to not give up meeting together for worship (Heb. 10:25). The Lord’s supper is known as Communion. In response to the question, “Who is my neighbor?” Jesus told the parable of the Good Samaritan (Lk. 10:29-37). By it we understand that we indeed are our brother’s keeper (Gen. 4:9), and everyone is our neighbors.
Most certainly we have neighbors in town who are isolated, and lonely – shut out from meaningful, community relationships. Aging, a protracted illness, or any number of reasons could be the culprit. What would God have us do? Consider the following statement, “If we are Christians, we shall not pass by on the other side [of the road], keeping as far as possible from the very ones who most need our help. When we see human beings in distress we shall never say, This does not concern me” (White, Desire of Ages, p. 504).
May I ask, Do you know someone who is lonely? “’Tis the human touch in this world that counts; the touch of your hand and mine which means far more to the fainting heart than shelter and bread and wine. For shelter is gone when the night is o’er; and bread lasts only a day. But the touch of the hand, and the sound of the voice sing on in the soul always” (Spencer Michael Free, The Human Touch, 1925).
Dave Moench serves as pastor of the Bowman Seventh Day Adventist Church.

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