You don’t have to be lonely

Good morning everyone,
 
Our theme for this month: “Fully alive”
 
Our Bible verse for today: “Who is my mother and my brothers?’ Stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, ‘Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” Matthew 12:48-50 (CSB)
 
Our thought for today: “You don’t have to be lonely”
 
Isolation, and the sense of loneliness that comes from it, is an epidemic in our society. More and more people have fewer and fewer friends. One study from 2018 (pre-pandemic) reported that three in five Americans reported feeling isolated and lonely. Twenty percent reported levels of chronic isolation and loneliness, and that number increases dramatically with age. Forty-five percent of senior citizens report significant feelings of isolation and loneliness.
 
The problem has only gotten worse since then. Americans have developed a bunker mentality. As a society our close personal relationships have withered and more and more people are relying on social media rather than in-person interactions. This creates problems on many levels. For one thing, we tend to care less about people we don’t know or who we don’t know well. Therefore, the fewer people you know well, the fewer people you will really care about. But also, isolation and loneliness have a negative impact on health – physically and mentally. Social isolation is a big factor in rates of obesity, heart disease, poor lifestyle choices, and mental illness.
 
Obviously then, loneliness and social isolation are factors which help determine how fully alive a person will feel. The more social interaction and close relationships a person has, the happier and healthier that person tends to be, physically and mentally. Interaction is good for you, isolation is not.
 
This is where the church comes in. Or at least, this is where the church should come in. Psalm 68:6 tells us that “God sets the lonely in families …” That means “church” families. God takes people who are otherwise socially isolated and lonely, and He puts them in good church families so they won’t be. That’s what Jesus was referring to in Matthew 12:48-50 (above). A church family can and should be the source of good healthy relationships. It should be a source of social interaction and meaningful connection with others. That’s why people who are active in a good church family score much better in all of the studies about loneliness and isolation. They tend to be healthier, happier, and report greater levels of contentment than do those who are not active in church.
 
The lesson for us? Go to church and be fully involved. It’s good for you and it will help you to feel more fully alive.
 
God Bless,
Pastor Jim
Copyright © 2021 Oak Hill Baptist Church, All rights reserved.

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