It Is Not Good to Be Alone

With the social distancing and quarantine brought about by COVID-19, I’m confident that even self-proclaimed introverts have realized their need for people. God created us to be relational beings because He is a social God (Gen 1:26a) and we were made in His image. In Genesis 2:18 God states, “It is not good that the man should be alone,” and there are many reasons for this.

1. We need people to bear one another’s burdens. When Moses was shepherding the myriads of Israel alone, his father-in-law told him, “What you are doing is not good. You and the people with you will certainly wear yourselves out, for the thing is too heavy for you. You are not able to do it alone” (Exodus 18:17-18). We were not designed to run this race by ourselves, so elders were appointed to aid Moses saying “they shall bear the burden of the people with you, so that you may not bear it yourself alone” (Numbers 11:17b). This is the beauty of delegation. Many hands make light work as many bearers make the burden light.

2. We need other people to see the flaws we’re blind to. You can’t treat cancer if you don’t know it’s there. It’s also hard to remove the log from your own eye when most of the time you are blind to the expanse of it (Matt 7:3-5). We tend to protect ourselves from what we don’t want to know about ourselves. As David Brooks said in his book The Road to Character, “We all need people to tell us when we are wrong, to advise us on how to do right, and to encourage, support, arouse, cooperate, and inspire us along the way.”

3. We need people to get out of our self-absorbed pits. Time and time again, I’ve found that the longer I spend by myself, the more I get tied up in my head and stuck in unhealthy thought circles. While my introverted nature would prefer to remain comfortably at home, the tried and true cure has always been to get out with other people. No matter the cause behind my sunken spirit, I always feel better after spending time observing those around me rather than thinking about this or that situation of mine.

4. We need people to better-reflect the Person and work of our Father. For the life of the world, we are to live out God’s love through our interactions with others so non-believers can see Christ in us. “Jesus needed people because He needed to pour out the love of God into them,” my dad wrote in his book Get Ready. “Without somebody to love, how could any of us fully understand, experience, or image the Lord?”

5. We need people to better know about God. Human beings were made in the image of God. We are His image-bearers, meaning that in each person you can experience a micro-aspect of God’s character. Tim Keller once used the analogy of friendships to explain this concept: You cannot fully know friend A without friend B because of how friend A laughs at friend B’s jokes. You can say, “Without friend B I get more of friend A because I’m spending one-on-one time with them,” when really you aren’t because there isn’t that aspect that only friend B can bring out of friend A. This is how it is with bearing God’s image to others. On that note, we know that God has a sense of humor because mankind does. You cannot fully know God apart from community (Phil 1:12-18). My friend Emily Bennett once said, “If You ever allow me to become transfixed by a face that is not Yours, may it be because I see You more clearly when I gaze upon it.”

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