Monday, August 09, 2010

There is Danger in Living Alone

Not only has God said that being alone is not good there are also some negative effects of loneliness and the lack of companionship.  In a very real sense being alone can be dangerous. According to a recent study there seems to be a link between living alone and developing dementia later on in life.  A lonely life is difficult life to live.

Solomon wrote about the negative consequences when he wrote about the meaning of life in the book of Ecclesiastes. He recognized some of the dangers associated with being alone.
Again, I saw vanity under the sun: one person who has no other, either son or brother, yet there is no end to all his toil, and his eyes are never satisfied with riches, so that he never asks, For whom am I toiling and depriving myself of pleasure? This also is vanity and an unhappy business. 
Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.  (Ecclesiastes 4:7-12, ESV)

There are three negative consequences Solomon points out in this passage.

Life alone is futile
The example that Solomon uses is a man who slaves away working and building up an estate but has no one to share it with.  Why should he deprive himself pleasure of life if he cannot share the fruits of his hard work with people he loves?  A life of no family and no friends leads to a meaningless existence.  It might be fun for a while not to have to answer to others, but sooner or later the brevity of life reminds us that all the things in the world are meaningless without somebody to share them with. The futile life is a lonely life.

Life alone is helpless
When we are all by ourselves there is no one we can rely on to help us out, we are alone.  Who can we call on to help move?  Who do we trust enough to be our business partner? To whom can we turn to for help?  When we are alone we cannot accomplish as much as when we are with people, the return on our work is terrible.  We may be sitting at the top of the heap, but it is requiring more and more effort that we don’t have to stay there.  The solitary life is a lonely life.

Life alone is weak
Great teams are made of individuals working together.  I have watched many teams, particularly basketball teams, who had one great superstar but no one else.  The superstar may score 63 points, but because there is no teamwork the team is defeated.  We can be strong and tough and able to do a lot on our own, but by ourselves we will sooner or later be defeated by life.  There is no way we can make it through life without the encouragement and help of other people.  The lack of companionship will lead to the greatest defeats of our life.

God created us to be social creatures.  We need other people in our lives.  Companionship infuses our lives with meaning, help, and strength.  Without those components life is very difficult to live and we will wonder point of it all is.  The danger of loneliness is that we will ultimately give up on life.

Point to Ponder: A lonely life is difficult life to live.
Passage to Remember: Ecclesiastes 4:7-12
Question to Consider: What difficulties has loneliness brought into your life?

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