Overcoming Loneliness

 Psalm 68:5-6 

 A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families, he leads forth the prisoners with singing; but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land.

 Hebrews 13:5

God has said, “Never will I leave you nor forsake you”

In order to deal with loneliness in our lives, we need to understand why people are lonely and how we can build meaningful relationships.

God created people to have a relationship with Himself 

God created people to be social, to have meaningful relationships, and to share their lives with one another. Most importantly, God created people to have a relationship with Him.  The first chapters of Genesis detail how God created people to have a close, meaningful, day-to-day relationship with them. God gave Adam and Eve responsibility over the plants and animals, and spent time with them face-to-face. But because Adam and Eve listened to the serpent and disobeyed God, sin entered the world and the relationship between God and people was broken.

People will never feel entirely whole and secure until they restore their relationship with God. When we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, the sin that separates us from God is erased so we can once again have a close, meaningful relationship with Him, just like Adam and Eve had with God before they sinned. This relationship with God is the most important relationship we can have—more important than any relationship we have with our family, spouse, or friends.

Some people describe it to be a God shaped hole in our heart that only He can fill.  We try to fill that space with other people and things, but only God can fill the space that He created for Himself. 

God also created people to have relationships with each other.

When God made Adam, He said it was not good for man to be alone, so He made Eve. Social interaction is one of the necessary elements of life. Everyone needs to love and be loved, and to share their lives with others. It should be no surprise that we need others—God made us that way! So, if we are made to desire relationships with each other and there are 6 billion people alive, then why do people feel lonely? 

When sin entered the world, not only did it ruin the relationship between God and people, but also between people. If we take a look around us, it’s obvious how sin has destroyed what should be natural fellowship between people. The problem is as old as Cain and Abel (see Genesis 4).

Real quick…what happened there?

Sin is why people become jealous, suspicious, fearful, contemptuous, and cruel. Because of sin, we have something broken inside us that prevents us from having immediate, close fellowship with other people.  But when we know God, the thing that is broken inside us starts to heal. The Bible talks all the time about building healthy relationships.  For example, Christians are taught to submit to one another, to help people in need, and to always be patient and kind.  When we become a Christian, the Holy Spirit helps us to become more like God in terms of His character.  Knowing God helps us to have whole, healthy relationships with other people. 

And that’s what this lesson is about—it’s not just about making friends so you won’t be lonely, but rather about how to be a whole person in God who is ready for relationships with other people.

You can’t start out empty.  If you do, you’ll constantly be looking for people to “fill” that empty place with phone calls, text messages, social media, approval, etc.  It is impossible for them to fill you or for you to feel filled by them.  This is where co-dependent relationships come from. 

Have you ever had a friend that felt more like an ankle weight?  Not that they were a bother, but that at times they felt like it or being with them would wear on you?  It is likely because of them trying to fill that space with you.  Because of how God created us…for relationship, we need to start out filled with Him.  If we go into the world with God filling that space in our heart, then we will be able to meet needs that are presented, while maintaining healthy boundaries.

Scripture says to let our yes be yes, and our no be no.  And to not be “lukewarm”.  If we don’t have boundaries, then we will feel like we have to meet a need that was never intended for us to meet in the first place.

So how does all this apply to the topic of tonight’s discussion?  About loneliness?  Can you be a believer and still be lonely?  And if so, what does that mean?

Overcoming Loneliness

Think of a time when you have been lonely.  How did that feel? 

Where do you think loneliness comes from?

What is a “God shaped” hole?

How do different people try to fill it?