Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.
Years ago, a popular song on the radio was “Alone Again, Naturally.” This ballad is about a young man who, over a period of time, lost the people who were closest to him. Unfortunately, loneliness is the norm for many people today. Psychologists tell us there are two kinds of loneliness. First, there is a loneliness of distance. That is when we are geographically separated from people. Second, there is a loneliness of spirit. It is the sense of isolation we can feel even when we are in a crowded room, a marriage, or even a church.
We usually think of loneliness as a state of being. But loneliness is more than a condition; it is a choice of how we go through life. We can say, “I don’t need anybody; I am sufficient on my own,” or we can admit that we need other people. How do you choose to react to the joys and sorrows of life? Will you choose to stoically face life alone, or will you choose to have others with you?
Some people choose to be lonely because of a poor self-image. They think, “Why should I reach out to other people? I’m not attractive. I’m not gifted. Nobody would want to be around me.” They don’t want to risk being rejected. Yet think about the most meaningful relationships in your life, such as with your mate or with your friends. Those relationships probably started with your being willing to take a risk, to reach out to that other person. What is the cure for a poor self-image? The Bible says there are two truths we need to grasp to help us see ourselves as God sees us. First, through Christ, we are people of value. In Ephesians 2:10, Paul said, “We are His workmanship.” Everything about you–your looks, your abilities, your personality–is the result of God’s work. Second, to cure a poor self-image, understand that you are the recipient of God’s interest and friendship. Think about this: God wants a relationship with you, and He demonstrated that desire on the cross. Jesus said in John 15:13, “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.”
A second reason people choose loneliness is because of pride. They don’t think they need other people. Paul tried to correct that misconception in 1 Corinthians 12 by comparing the church to the human body: “There are many members, but one body. And the eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I have no need of you’; or again the head to the feet, ‘I have no need of you.’ On the contrary, it is much truer that the members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary” (vv. 20-22). The fact is, we all need one another. Remember the story about the two porcupines that were huddling together in the frozen tundra? They needed one another even though they needled one another. It is true for us as well. We may not like the people around us, but we need one another even though from time to time we needle one another.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Choosing Companionship over Loneliness” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2019.
Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.