Genesis 2:18 And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.
In the creation account, the first thing that God said that was not good, was the fact that Adam was alone. Even though God continued to walk with Adam in the cool of day, for Adam to be a true reflection of God, Adam needed a community. After all, our Triune God, is a community of Father, Son and Spirit, and we were birthed out of that community, designed to be loved by God, and share in that life.
In the western world, we pride ourselves on our individualism and independence. Most believers want to be like John the Baptist, off in the wilderness somewhere, praying and fasting alone with God, in hope of growing and maturing into the person they think they should be. Now I am all for getting alone time with God and developing that personal intimacy, but our maturity and growth is not found in isolation, it is found in relationships.
How are you going to mature as a peace maker, if you never encounter conflict with others? How are you going to grow in unconditional love, until you meet people who are really difficult to love? How are you going to learn to trust others, if you never spend time with anyone else? Even our healing from hurts was meant to be done in community;
James 5:16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.
The context of the healing talked about in this passage of James, was a response to the conflict between Jews and Gentiles over persecution. James is telling them to confess their faults, that their relationships can be healed. Similarly for us, while the temptation is to isolate and retreat from people when we have been hurt, it is my belief that the best place to find healing from the hurts in life is in a community of loving people.
Again, I’m not saying no one can mature and recover from hurts alone with God, rather I’m saying it’s not God’s best design for our recovery. There was a time when Adam was alone with God, and from Adam’s perspective, it was fine, but from God’s perspective, it was not God’s best for him. In that same way, nothing is impossible with God, but his nature is rooted in community, and as such we find ourselves best when we are connected with other people.
There are many believers, struggling with loneliness, whom are trying to convince themselves that what they are feeling is wrong, evil or sinful, when in truth, because of our union with Jesus Christ, those very desires to connect with others, is the very nature of God expressing itself. To try and choke down the idea that all we need is God, defies our very nature, and only feeds our shame and isolation.
But when we realize that every relationship, from family, to co-workers, to friends, even romantic relationships are different expressions of our Divine Nature, we can now be free to enjoy the company of others, and find ourselves come alive.
Empathy versus Sympathy