Colossians 3:14-15, 17 - And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the Name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.
I'd never heard of it before, but there is a test called the UCLA Loneliness Scale.
The UCLA Loneliness Scale asks 20 questions and calculates the likelihood of a person being lonely from the results. Generally speaking, if you score 43 or more, you are considered lonely. When the health insurer, Cigna, gave the test to 20,100 adults in the United States, it was shocked to find the average score was 44.
Some benchmarks of loneliness were evident throughout the study group.
Approximately half the people said they sometimes or always feel alone or left out; 43 percent said they sometimes or always feel that their relationships are not meaningful; and only 53 percent said they have meaningful in-person interactions on a daily basis.
All of which means there are a lot of lonely people out there.
To which I can almost hear you say, "Absolutely! I, myself, know a lot of lonely senior citizens."
Well, it's quite possible that you really do know some lonely golden-agers. I won't contest that. But Cigna's questionnaire revealed the "greatest generation" -- or those folks over the age of 72 -- posted the lowest "loneliness likelihood" of any group who were tested.
If that's true, and it is, you may be wondering, "If the elderly, for the most part are doing good, which age group is having the hardest time in its confrontation with loneliness? According to the test, "Generation Z," that is, those who were born from 1995 to 2012, is the most lonely. More than half of the group identified with ten of the eleven prompts which the test uses to help define loneliness.
That degree of being alone can have serious consequences for an individual. Experts note those negatives can be modified when an individual has a holistic approach to life. They note that when an individual gets quality rest, solid exercise, and finds good hobbies they tend to feel less alone.
And if you wonder whether involvement in a church can make a difference, the answer is "Yes." Of course, there are some great reasons and there are some not-so-great reasons for getting active in a congregation. A great reason would be to regularly hear the Word and receive the Sacraments. A great reason would be to praise our Creator and offer Spirit-directed thanks to our crucified and ever-living Redeemer.
A not-as-great-a-reason to get involved in a church would be to attend only because you think it will provide interaction that might dispel loneliness. Even so, Jesus would understand that motivation. Remember, He came for those who were lost; He reached out to those who had no one; He loved those who were unlovable. And now, the risen Redeemer urges His church to follow His example and reach out to the lost and those who are alone.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, You once said, "It is not good that man should be alone." After that, You made sure that in the future that wouldn't be the case. Sadly, we brought sin into this world and our sins have brought loneliness with them. Grant that, under Your direction, believers may support each other and be the kind of friends to each other that the Savior was to us. This I ask in the Savior's Name. Amen.
The above devotion was inspired by a number of sources, including one written by Jamie Ducharme for TIME on May 1, 2018 Those who wish to reference that article may do so at the following link, which was fully functional at the time this devotion was written: http://time.com/5261181/young-americans-are-lonely/
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries
To Download Devotion MP3 to your computer, right click here and select "Save Link As" or "Save Target As" or "Download Linked File As"