The other day I came across the post below by Seth Godin on the "Loneliness Epidemic" at the same time as seeing the above photo with a quote from C S Lewis.
"The next time you feel lonely, disconnected or unappreciated, consider that unlike many other maladies, this one hits everyone. And unlike other challenges, this one is easily overcome by realising that you can cure the problem by connecting, appreciating and leading."
"The minute we realise that the person sitting next to us needs us (and our tribe, our forward motion and the value we create), we're able to extinguish their aloneness as well as ours."
"When you shine a light, both of you can see better."It continues to amaze me that so many people born into this community called the family of God choose to remain in isolation.
As a local church pastor I have lost count of the people who have left one church and joined another with the reason attached to their lack of community.
The words vary but the underlying sentiment is the same:
- There is no love in that church.
- That church is full of cliques.
- The people are so unfriendly.
- The church is too big.
- The pastors don't care.
The list goes on. And yes, any or all of these can be true. However in 99% of cases I don't believe the answer is found in just changing local church family.
I firmly believe that a combination of selfishness and insecurity keeps us from unearthing beautiful community.
Selfishness, because building friendship is all about sacrifice or should I say investment. Investing your time in someone else's life. An invite for a meal in your home, a coffee at lunch, writing a card of thanks, a phone call out of the blue, remembering a special occasion, a gift for no reason.
Insecurity, because we are all so often scared or rejection. The sooner we all realise that the vast majority of us, if not all, are afflicted with this disease of unworthiness the sooner we can all help each other recover. That person that walks past with eyes fixed to the floor is not being ignorant, the chances are that they too are feeling alone and too scared to connect because they live in fear of their insecurities being confirmed.
Community is assured through our relationship with Jesus lets start to bring his prayer to fruition. Let us blow through selfishness and insecurity and start to love. We might be a little surprised at what will happen.