A Human Epidemic
A recent article from an internal medicine website has cited a new health epidemic that has swept our country. MD Linx reports, “The newest epidemic in America now affects up to 47% of adults—double the number affected just a few decades ago. This condition is associated with a 26% increased risk for early mortality—a risk rate on par with that of obesity or smoking 15 cigarettes a day. It is also associated with higher systolic blood pressure, body mass index, and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels, not to mention an increased risk for depression, personality disorders psychoses, and suicide. And, according to experts, physicians don’t usually screen patients for this condition. What is this epidemic? It’s loneliness.”
With the drastic changing of our society and the way it socializes we should not be surprised by this. Most of Americans get their human interaction through a screen. Whether it is texting, emailing, watching TV and movies through multiple platforms, we have diminished our human interaction. You can even “attend” church by just putting on your TV on Sunday morning. David Wells properly stated, “Radio produced its own kind of drama as the imagination of the listener filled in the events it transmitted, but television provides the more immediate drama of showing live events as they are unfolding. And yet with this omniscience, with this superhuman capacity to transcend place and time, has come loneliness. Given the increasing number of television sets in American homes and the divergent tastes of viewers, Americans more frequently watch their sets alone. As television discloses its intimacies and drama to these viewers, inviting a response, they are left to sigh, or laugh or shout or cry alone in the company of the non-responsive machine.”
The article continues with its findings on the loneliness of Americans, “According to a recent survey of more than 20,000 US adults conducted by Cigna and Ipsos:
- Nearly half of Americans sometimes or always feel alone (46%) or left out (47%).
- Approximately 1 in 4 Americans (27%) rarely or never feel as though there are people who really understand them.
- Roughly 2 in 5 Americans sometimes or always feel that their relationships are not meaningful (43%) and that they are isolated from others (43%).
- Only about half of Americans (53%) have meaningful in-person social interactions on a daily basis.
- Generation Z (adults aged 18 to 22 years) is the loneliest generation and reports being in worse health than older generations.
- Fellowship with God. God’s Word constantly reinforces the fact that we are made to relate with the Triune God of the universe. Paul told the Corinthians that when we become saved we are “...called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.” (1 Cor. 1:9) John reminded the church that, “...indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ.” (1 John 1:3) We were for God and we were made to fellowship with Him. Do not neglect your souls need to commune with Him.
- Fellowship with each other. One of the reasons that God established the church is because of our need for each other. The very first church did not just come together to chit-chat, they were devoted to deep biblical fellowship. “They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles' teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” (Acts 2:42) We need each other and the love and encouragement that we give each other. “...and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:24-25) It is so important that Paul prayed for it for one of his churches, he prayed for their fellowship! “...and I pray that the fellowship of your faith may become effective…”(Philippians 1:6) When is the last time you prayed for your fellowship with the saints? This is why Peter commanded, “Be hospitable to one another without complaint.”(1 Peter 4:9) And James taught, “Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.” (James 5:16)