(Photo by Selma Komisky)
From Me to We
By Zelda Dominguez
There’s a new series this season on ABC that caught my attention. It’s about a group of friends, who like all of us, get caught up in the routine of life. Two of them bump into each other, and how many times have we said to someone, let’s get together soon? In this case it never happens because one of the two commits suicide. As a result it causes them to bond and really become a community of friends.
Why do we take relationships for granted? Why do we become so self-absorbed? Ever notice people drive in the garage, immediately close garage door, and isolate in their little domains? It seems to make us emotionally isolated, where one may have a well-functioning social network but still feels emotionally separated from others. People who are isolated emotionally usually feel lonely and are unable to relate to others.
We need each other. Hebrews 10:24-25 says, “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—God created man and said, It is not good that the man should be alone.” Relationship is important to God. It is spoken throughout his word. He created us with the need to be loved and interact. The Lord desires communion with us and with each other.
“In the same way, even though we are many people, we are one body in Christ, and individual parts connected to each other.”
– Romans 12:5
Some say technology is the culprit to not engaging with others. We’re more connected — online — than ever. But, often, we forget the true meaning and importance of connection. It’s no accident that we’re also more stressed, sick, depressed and addicted. There is good evidence that technology in general has become the primary means of social interactions now, so the way we are interacting socially has changed dramatically and we need to fully understand the effects of this. Only six years ago, in 2012, was the point where more than 50 percent of people had smartphones.
- A new Cigna study revealed this year loneliness is at epidemic levels in America. The survey of more than 20,000 U.S. adults ages 18 years and older revealed some alarming findings. Here are a few:
- Nearly half of Americans report sometimes or always feeling alone or left out (47 percent)
- Two in five Americans sometimes or always feel that their relationships are not meaningful (43 percent) and that they are isolated from others.
- Only around half of Americans (53 percent) have meaningful in-person social interactions, such as having an extended conversation with a friend or spending quality time with family, on a daily basis.
- Generation Z (adults ages 18-22) is the loneliest generation and claims to be in worse health than older generations.
This year Great Britain appointed its first “minister for loneliness,” whose job is tackling what Prime Minister Theresa May called the “sad reality of modern life.” Public-health leaders immediately praised the idea — and for good reason. In recent decades, researchers have discovered that loneliness left untreated is not just psychologically painful; it also can have serious medical consequences.
In Korea, instead of watching TV and eating alone, people are paying to see other people eat on the Internet as a solution to loneliness, feeling they are eating with someone. It’s called Meok Bang. In Japan an estimated 700,000 individuals are living as a Hikkimomori, with 1.55 million on the verge of becoming one. It is the abnormal avoidance of social contact––social recluses. Societal isolation is used as a coping mechanism to avoid stressful situations. It is not uncommon for many to end their lives due to loneliness. There is a rise in Kodokushi, people dying alone remaining undiscovered for long period of time. Japan spends more time and money on robot industry than any other nation does to help in the workforce and to fill the human void.
In the New Testament, koinonía signifies communion, joint participation; the share which one has in anything, participation, or a gift jointly contributed.
“Since we are all one body in Christ, we belong to each other and each of us needs all the others.”
– Romans 12:5
Did you get that? We need each other. We need to be interdependent with other believers. God wired you and wired all of us in such a way that we can only fulfill his purposes for our lives in community, in his family, in relationship to each other. Interdependence is mutual dependence between things. Inter- means “between.” Jesus gave us more than himself; he gave us each other. He commanded us not only to love God, but to love one another (Matthew 22:37-39). You see, the number one goal in life is learning to love God. The number two goal is learning to love other people.
There are 59 bible verses that speak on one another. By leaving a comment and your email, I’ll see if we can get a copy to you. When you walk thru life with other believers, it encourages, keeps accountability, supports, lightens the load, keeps you from giving up, and helps you grow; community is God’s answer to loneliness.
“Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”
– Philippians 2:4.