LonelyJuly 31, 2008
So. I’ve been doing this “unofficial” Bible study. I say unofficial because it’s not one that is being offered through my church. After hearing about the book True Faced, I recommended it as a suggested study for our women’s ministry at church. (Twice!) It was never selected but I just couldn’t stop thinking about it. I decided to get the book and read it on my own.
When I was telling someone about the book, they expressed an interest and asked if I would mind if they read it with me. I figured it would be good to have someone else to discuss it with because (a) it would make me think more about what I was reading and (b) it would ensure that I would actually read all of the book. (I still haven’t finished Respectable Sins!)
And before we even started, our group of two became three. Somewhere in the middle of chapter 2 another woman asked if she could join us. And now we are four.
This book has been so profound in the things it is revealing about our relationships with God and others that we are taking it very slowly. Instead of rushing through it at the standard chapter-a-week, we are setting our own pace and taking our time.
Through this book and the conversations that I’ve had with the women who are reading it with me, I have come to realize that there are people who are genuinely hurting, lonely, and craving a more-than-superficial relationship with other people in the Body of Christ. I’ve felt this way myself for quite some time, but I foolishly thought that I was the only one who felt that way.
So I was surprised this morning when one of the women in the group tearfully confessed that she is lonely and that she feels rejected by many people in our church. All she really wants — all any of us really want — is for someone to spend time with us, take an interest in our lives, and go beyond the superficial “meet & greet” that takes place between worship songs on Sunday morning.
God created us with needs. And one of those fundamental needs is companionship (see Genesis 2:18). From the very beginning of Creation, God acknowledges that it is not good for us to be alone. Why then, do we have such a hard time forming genuine relationships with each other? Is it because we are too busy with non-church concerns (work, soccer practice, errands, scouts, doctor’s appointments, etc.)? Is it because intimacy scares us, because we have been taught that those who show their true feelings are considered weak, needy, or undeserving? Is it because we are too busy with our own problems to take to heart the message of Romans 12:10 — love each other with genuine affection and take delight in honoring each other (NLT)?
Whatever the reason, the result is the same. Part of the body of Christ is hurting. And if things are as they should be, then we should all be hurting at that realization. Read Romans 12:10 again. It does not say (as someone at my church once unabashedly stated), “Oh, you don’t have to care about the person. You just have to take them a meal when they’re sick.” No, it says that we must love each other with genuine affection. If we define our Christian “love” by legalistic requirements instead of by heartfelt care and concern for one another, then we are not being obedient to God’s command that we love one another.
Look around your church and ask yourself if anyone looks lost, lonely, or insecure during the “meet and greet.” Invite someone from your church over for coffee. Let someone know that you were thinking about them during the week, not just on Sunday morning when they’re under the same roof as you. Love one another, and be real about it. Your brothers and sisters in Christ are the walking wounded, and your love can heal them if it is willingly and genuinely given.