Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper as his partner.” – Genesis 2:18 (NRSV)
Loneliness kills. Literally.
People with poor social connection are more likely candidates for heart disease, cancer, and a host of other ailments. Loneliness is as likely to lead to an early death as high blood pressure, lack of exercise, or smoking 15 cigarettes a day.
I’ve never been interested in reconciling the biblical creation accounts with science, but on these points the authors got it incontrovertibly right:
We are created for relationship, and it is not good for us to be alone.
Even before the global pandemic of Covid-19, Cigna released a study revealing that loneliness has reached epidemic proportions in America.
- 46% of us are sometimes or always lonely.
- 27% rarely or never feel as though there are people who really understand them.
- 43% sometimes or always feel that their relationships are not meaningful.
These are bone of our bones and flesh of our flesh. We are made of the same stuff, created as partners and helpers for one another. And we are suffering.
It is not good.
The research about loneliness says that poor social connection is a vicious cycle. Being lonely makes us less able and less likely to reach out.
So if you’re part of that 54% percent that feels well-connected (at least in this moment), it’s up to you. Call. Text. Show up.
Treat that lonely one as if they were pulled like a rib from your own body, as if you were formed from the same earth, and breathed on by the same spirit. Because you were.
Three-in-One, you see our loneliness and take action. Move me in your image.
Vince Amlin is co-pastor of Bethany UCC, Chicago, and co-planter of Gilead Church Chicago, forming now.