Raise your hand if you’ve ever felt lonely or like an outsider. (If you are supposed to be working right now, blink twice for yes.) I’m assuming almost everyone answered in the affirmative. It seem to be one of the aspects of life we all have in common. Sadly, though, I believe many times we are the ones who put ourselves in situations to make us feel that way, and there are two reasons why we tend to do so.
First, we have too much dirt on ourselves. We know every mistake of our lives, every sin, every stray thought, and we are slow to forgive ourselves of those faults. We assume our view of ourselves is everyone else’s view as well. As a result, we deem ourselves unworthy of meaningful relationships. Second, we may have been hurt by those around us, so we build walls. We convince ourselves that if we build a wall strong enough to keep people out, we will never hurt again. Scripture does not back up this strategy and belief, though.
Proverbs 18:1 says, “Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire; he breaks out against all sound judgment.” In other words, it is not wise to isolate yourself. We find this truth early in the creation story of Genesis. God is creating left and right: the waters are good, the land is good, the animals are good, the sun and moon and stars are good. The first thing God says is “not good” is Adam’s isolation. Adam was surrounded by all kinds of “good” things, but God knew it was not best for him to be devoid of human relationship. From that point forward, everything in scripture tells us not to seclude ourselves (1 Thessalonians 5:11, Proverbs 13:20, John 15:13, Hebrews 10:24-25, 1 Corinthians 7:5, to name a few).
Maybe I don’t need to convince you that you need friends, but finding good friends has nonetheless eluded you. This quote stuck out to me this week: “I went out looking for a friend and found none. I went out to be a friend and found many.”
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 gives us a beautiful picture of friendship in action. It says, “Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.”
My prayer for us this week is that we would all go out of our way, in vulnerability, to help others accomplish more than they thought possible, to encourage people who fall, to comfort someone who feels alone, and to help someone overcoming an attack. We are not meant to live alone nor are we meant to keep others at an arm’s length. Instead, we are encouraged to invite others into our lives. God will most certainly use them to bless us in our time of need.