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Monday, December 28, 2009


A recent report on a study of loneliness seems to be making its way around the media.

Key findings in the report are that loneliness behaves as if it were contagious and that some people are more vulnerable to "catching it" than others. Similar studies have ironically shown obesity and happiness to exhibit similar contagiousness.

You can read more about this study and its so-called findings at,_study_suggests.

This is an interesting study only in that it purports to legitimize fallacy. That's right, the report is false. Loneliness is not contagious. Obesity and happiness are not contagious. Why? Because they are feelings. And feelings are very often not true at all. Feelings are circumstances and are often driven by circumstances. Truth and circumstances are rarely, if ever, aligned. They are almost always different.

Researchers will call studies and conclusions like this "breakthroughs." They'll extol the value of these "findings." But the simple truth here is that these studies are simply reports of man relying on his own understanding. (Proverbs 3:5-6 tells us not to do that!) But mankind often does that. We experience circumstances and phenomena that we don't understand. So we undertake some sort of study --- which is usually funded by public money --- with the expectation that it will produce wisdom and understanding.

At the end of these studies, we assess the data, draw conclusions, and announce that they are importing "findings." We treat them as if they are truth revealed or discovered. In fact, they are not. Often they are nothing more than misguided perversions of truth. They are deception. But we cling to them as if they were gospel truth. Why is that? Is it possible that the truth is just too inconvenient? Maybe it's better if we can invent our own truth?

So what is true about loneliness? The simple truth is that loneliness is a choice. That's right. It's a choice. Often people make it without realizing they are making it. God's word says we are to seek Him first, and then to love others as we would like to be loved (Matthew 22:36-40). Folks, if we actually did that, nobody would be lonely.

In the beginning, God created mankind and concluded that it would not be good for any of us to be alone (Genesis 2:18). He created us to be relational beings. In other words, it is God's will for each of us that we be in relationship with each other. I'm not talking about being aware of each other, "friending" each other on Facebook or working with each other. Being in a relationship with someone means that our hearts are connected. We have emotional and spiritual intimacy with each other. This is God's definition of relationship for mankind. And when we're in those kinds of relationships, we're not lonely.

One could wax on about loneliness, examining its qualities and attributes. We could study its character and form. But at the end of the day, loneliness is the simple result of a focus on self. If I were truly not focused on myself, I could be focused on God and others --- and would not be lonely. So I can sit and pine away about the relationships I don't have. Or I can invest myself in deepening the relationships I do have. And I can work to build new relationships. But it is a choice that I have to make.

Ironically, the truth about such things as obesity, happiness, homosexuality and other phenomenon that mankind has undertaken to study are similar. We can choose God's truth --- or we can invent our own truth. (The latter is called deception.) And as this recent study illustrates, deception can look very credible in modern society. It is easy to be deceived.

God's people must be grounded in God's truth. And when we are, society's fallacy and deception will have no impact on us. We won't be trying to explain away the effects of human rebellion against God's ways for our lives. We won't be trying to rationalize or justify the consequences of our poor choices (or the poor choices themselves).

As we look to this New Year, ask yourself what you're doing with your relationships. Are you lonely? If so, what do you think God expects you to do about that? Get a truthful answer to that question, and then get off your butt and do it!

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