The Silent Epidemic That’s Killing Us

Akos Balogh (Gospel Coalition Aust.)

There’s a silent epidemic sweeping across western societies. It’s affecting young and old, rich and poor, educated and uneducated. You wouldn’t know it’s happening, because much of it takes place behind closed doors. But increasing numbers of people are touched by it. What is this silent epidemic?

Loneliness.

According to a survey by Lifeline, 60% of people in Australia regularly feel lonely. Why? There are more single person households of all ages. Fewer people are marrying. As people age, loved ones and friends die, resulting in less social connection. For busy people, relationships take too much time. Social media allows us to stay in touch but promotes the idea that everyone else’s lives are happier and more successful than ours. We were designed by God to interact face to face – not virtually. Competition and individualism and winning are all important in our society – and bring isolation and loneliness. Wealth does not protect us from loneliness.

What is the solution?

Churches are islands of community in a sea of loneliness. Faithful Christian churches are places where people care for others and people from all walks of life are welcomed, where people can get support when they or a family member gets ill or there is a family or work crisis.

Christian hospitality is an antidote to loneliness. An invitation to have a cuppa together is a key way of loving our lonely neighbours. Churches can help the lonely through community dinners, play groups for isolated mothers, (plus craft groups, cycling groups and other church sponsored social ministries -GM).

The ultimate solution to loneliness

As Christians we can point others to “Immanuel” – God with us – Jesus. “Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you” says Jesus. He can bring comfort and hope to our darkest nights. As we introduce people to Jesus we are introducing them to an eternal 24/7 relationship with Jesus, Son of God, who knows each one of us perfectly, understands our human difficulty and pain personally and loves us totally and invites us to be with him and his people forever.