Loneliness is an emotion that perhaps everyone on this earth experiences at some time in his or her life. How do we cope with loneliness, or maybe we should ask, how do we keep loneliness out of our lives? Loneliness is not a sin in itself, but it can be (and many times is) a door that may lead to various sins. Loneliness can cause us to feel self-pity. We feel like nobody loves us, which then can lead to ill thoughts and hate toward our fellowmen. Satan uses loneliness to drag many souls into depression, despair, substance abuse, many evils on the Internet, and even to committing suicide.
But there is another way that will bring healing and untold blessings. It seems to me that God allows loneliness to come for a reason. He sees a need somewhere, and He wants us to go and fill that need. God can use this emotion to His honor and glory if we will allow Him to, and that is what we want to look at as we consider this subject.
This is a true story about a Christian brother who faced loneliness and how he dealt with it. This man’s wife died from an illness that took her quite suddenly. They had lived and shared their life together for many years. Now he was alone and became very lonely. If you have never experienced loss and loneliness, it is hard to imagine what this is like. Upon spending his first Christmas alone, he went through the loneliest time in his life. On top of that, he received no Christmas cards, no one visited him, and no one invited him to come to their place for Christmas. That Christmas night he went to bed and wept for a long time. He felt he had not a friend in the world. It seems that we can become so selfish and self-centered that we do not see or feel the needs of those around us, and so these things happen.
Then he made a decision that changed his life and caused him to win the battle over loneliness. This brother faced two doors. The one would have been to sink into utter despair, and perhaps even to self-destruction. The other was healing and bringing hope and comfort to others with his gifts and talents. He chose to go through the right door.
He awoke the next morning and said, “This won’t do. If no one comes to me, then I will go to them. But I will not go with bitterness and anger, but I will find those who are lonely and try to lift them up and bring cheer to their lives.” This is what he did. Every day he would either call someone or get in his car and visit someone. He started doing things for those who were not able to do things for themselves, like watering the lawn, raking leaves, and running errands. It did not take long at all until he made many friends, and soon his life was filled with people who loved him and, in return, either called or came to him and visited him. The verse became a reality that says, “Cast thy bread upon the waters: for thou shalt find it after many days” (Eccles. 11:1). Loneliness had been beaten in his life.
The Scripture says that “none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself” (Rom. 14:7). God has made us with the desire to be with others, and when we are by ourselves, there is something within that craves to be with others. Satan attempts to use loneliness to his advantage in causing us to feel as though nobody loves us. Then depression sets in, and we get the “poor me” attitude. But when we feel so alone and lonely, there is a beautiful way to overcome that loneliness. It is to reach out to others and forget ourselves and our situation.
Start by calling someone, writing to someone, or getting in your car and visiting someone. There are the nursing homes where people are lonely, needing someone to talk to and someone to cheer them up. There is nothing wrong with calling someone and asking, “Can I come over for the evening? I just want to visit.” There are many ways to combat loneliness. Use your imagination, but whatever you do, do not allow yourself to go down the roads of “poor me” and “nobody loves me.” This is from Satan. Get your mind off of yourself and think about others. You can spend time praying for others. Apostle Paul says, “Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others” (Phil. 2:4). That, I think, is the best weapon against the enemy of loneliness.
There are times when it is not possible to talk to anyone or see anyone, such as in the early morning hours when everybody is asleep or perhaps when you do not have the means or a vehicle to go see others. Maybe you do not even have a phone to call someone. Perhaps health conditions keep you bedfast. In those times, try to be productive in any way you can think of, but do not allow yourself feelings that drag you down. The first thing you can do is talk to God. Tell Him all about your problems, not in a bitter and angry way, but just pour out your heart to God. Apostle Peter says, “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you” (1 Pet. 5:7).
There is a scripture we should all memorize and discipline ourselves to practice what it says. “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things” (Phil. 4:8). Ask God to help you and to give you joy and gladness and not sadness. I know this is easy to say, and putting it into practice may be difficult, but remember that God loves you and wants you to be happy. Let God speak to you. Think about the good things of life. Love, peace, and joy come from God. Anything that is negative comes from the evil one, so if negative feelings and thoughts want to bombard you, resist them. The more we can discipline ourselves to reject evil and negative thoughts and think on things that are heavenly, the more rewarding our lives will be.
From Messenger of Truth, Vol. 115, No. 2, January 18, 2017