Genesis 2:18: “The Lord God said, ‘It is not good for man to be alone.’”
In conversation with a good friend who has his own landscaping business, he bemoaned the difficulties of managing, not plants or flowers or trees or lawns, but people! He once had three or four people working with him at all times. He had many clients. But after the stress of hiring and firing and managing employees, he was delighted to be working again alone, and his profits had even increased. It is apparent on some days that the men counselors at the PAYH wished we did not have any boys in residence to guide, mentor, discipline and manage; but then that is what we are about. Many a manager of human resources know they are his most difficult resource, causing him or her to pull out their hair in despair some days. There are days many wish they could live and work all alone.
Perhaps you saw the Tom Hanks movie Castaway, a modern version, though not nearly the classic, of Robinson Crusoe. In both the heroes were alone for a long time, though Crusoe eventually got his pal Friday. Hanks had to settle for Wilson, a volleyball with a painted-on face. But neither of these, and none since the first man, has ever had to deal with such total human isolation as Adam. All had parents, and all had families, and all had some human interaction sometime in their life, even if they experienced a solitary existence for some period of their life. Life alone is unnatural to who we are, and how we are designed in God’s image. Crusoe and Hanks displayed the agonies of life alone. Adam, who had never known what it was like to be alone without another human to live and work with, did not know to make any comparison; yet the Scriptures tell us God knew that this state of His creation, Adam being alone, was not good nor as He intended. And Adam must have known it, for his exclamation upon Eve’s creation expressed his heart’s desire: “At last!
Can’t live with them; can’t live without them. Fellow human beings can be a pain, but our very existence cries out for their fellowship. There are certainly circumstances and situations where we may wish we could live in isolation, but it is never fulfilling to the human psyche or becoming a whole, spiritually healthy person. We are never complete or satisfied outside of human companionship, and neither is God God outside of relationship within the Godhead, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We are made to be a part of the many-membered church, the body of Jesus Christ, a unity of diverse and multi-gifted beings, redeemed to live in harmony, loving one another as ourselves. The Bible is saturated with instruction about how we are to live together within the company of believers and how we are to spur one another on toward love and good deeds before and in the midst of a fallen and dying world. There is no thought of isolated living in the pages of the Scriptures where we live solitary lives impacting no others; unless in unusual and rare circumstances God places you where you are unable to interact with other believers.
We have experienced the joy of companionship and fellowship in the intimacy of marriage and family, and we have immensely benefited from the comfort and encouragement of the fellowship of the church, but we have also been frustrated and grieved by relationships and experiences with those who provoke us to despair, anger, or sadness. None of this ought to be a surprise to the student of God’s Word. It is a significant part of the testing of your faith and those numerous opportunities to learn how to apply the mind of Christ in such situations. Do not flee difficult relationships, especially in the body. Pursue, with all the power of the promises of God, reconciliation and harmony with fellow believers; and with unbelievers, seek their conversion and transformation in Christ without being tainted by their sin or succumbing to compromise of the truth. You should never soft-pedal the truth to appear tolerant or “open-minded of sinful behavior, thinking (erroneously) that you will gain the non-believer’s confidence and sneak through the gospel message at a more ready moment.
The vast majority of you will never be a Robinson Crusoe or Tom Hanks character in Castaway. Rather your life will be among other human beings with a mixture of joy and sadness. Jesus wept as he approached Jerusalem thinking of her inhabitants, fellow human beings, some destined for destruction, others to eternal life. That determination is not yours. As far as you are concerned everyone you rub shoulders with is a candidate for eternal life. Pursue this perspective in every one of your encounters, while not giving into despair, irritability, or lasting grudges. Never forget, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?
“How beautiful the sight of brethren who agree in friendship to unite, and bonds of charity; tis like the precious ointment shed o’er all his robes, from Aaron’s head.
(Psalm 133 in James Montgomery’s verse, 1771-1854)
Sign up for our monthly newsletter and weekly devotional