Bible, Main, Teaching, z177
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How Lonely Are You?

Years ago, when I was younger, I flew on an airplane from Arizona to my home in Canada. I had been to a conference and visited my parents, who were snow birds living in a trailer park. In the airport I met a woman who was also traveling north on the same plane. I like to be friendly, in a small-town way, and we chatted. The conversation continued for a while, and then I realized that she wanted more than friendly conversation with me; she had something like a romantic interest. This made me uncomfortable, and I ended the conversation politely. She seemed disappointed.

This is not a story about temptation; I was a bit creeped out. On the positive side, she was good looking, and everything on her looked expensive. Also, she seemed educated and she spoke well. I suspect that she had a husband somewhere, but she never mentioned him. Where I live, rich people often have expensive condos in Arizona, usually near golf courses.

I had one feeling as I walked away. I felt lonely and left out.

Handsome rich people don’t socialize with me, and it was a privilege to have that conversation. It was fun for me until I realized that she had another motive. 

I believe loneliness is common for any Christian who wants to do the right thing. I remember when I was a student and my friends would call me from a party and ask me to come over. I could hear that they were drunk on the phone, and I knew they might be using drugs and couples were pairing off to make out. These were my friends, and it felt lonely to say ‘No thank you.” Over time they gave up on me and I had to find new friends. 

The problem for me was that I made a decision. I remember deciding that I would follow Jesus. I made the decision and it was like I joined a team and put on the jersey. It was not right to run onto the field, in uniform, and play for the other side. No one does that in sports, and it also doesn’t work in our spiritual lives. 

A Christian follows Jesus, and I believe He was lonely. At his trial, He was abandoned by all his friends, and He died nailed to a cross, while His enemies laughed at Him. I hope life never gets that extreme for you and me. When Jesus was preaching, telling people about God, the audience rejected Him. One time He asked his closest friends a lonely question “From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.’You do not want to leave too, do you?’ Jesus asked the Twelve.” (John 6: 66 and 67)

Sometimes we are not popular when we work for God.

So, how do we fix this problem? In this virus lockdown, we are even more isolated. The secret is simple, we can be surrounded by kindness and the love of friends as much as we want. The trick is; this love has to come from us, if it won’t come to us. We have to give the love. 

A few years ago, we moved from a church that I liked because it was too far from home. We left on good terms. Months later, I stopped at a fast food place for a break while I did some chores. A group of men were taking a break near me, but I sat alone and read something. When they stood up, I was surprised to hear my name. The men were from the church that we had left. They came to my table and asked how I was doing, and told me how they were doing. Most of them had to hurry away, but one man stayed. I bought him another cup of coffee and we chatted like friends, for a while. 

I was never close friends with any of those men, in the church, but they hated to see their brother taking his coffee break alone. I saw love that day, and it was directed to me. I know I can do the same to others, and we never need to be lonely.

Simple kindness is recommended by scientists:

Children know what kindness is:

God told us to be kind. No Christian should stay lonely:

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.
(John 13:34-35)

Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.
(Romans 12:9-13)

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