understand your neighbor

Do you ever get lonely? There are many people who act as if the only friend they need is God. I have trouble with this idea.

Christians even tell stories of lonesomeness, How does this work? We’re never alone with God right? If you’re a Christian it’s absurd to be lonely, you must be having faith issues, you must be placing your values in the wrong place. I don’t think that’s true. God created man to be relational.

I’ve talked about God being relational but I don’t think I’ve talked about people being relational. If you’re lonely, or feel misunderstood, it’s probably not because you’re “lost” or need to pray more or do “devotionals” more. You probably just need someone to care. And it’s often hard to go to certain people when you’re in need of a listener isn’t it? I am a prime example of a bad listener. When people come to me I try to solve their problems or try to tell them they need to do something.

People have a natural need to be heard, and understood. People are naturally dependant on other people. It’s hard for us to go to certain people with our problems because we know exactly what they’ll say.

I’ve had questions in the past that I used to try to take to my youth pastor but every time I asked these questions I felt looked down upon. I was given the same old Sunday school answer I already knew and ended up feeling completely misunderstood and alone in my intellectual search. It was not enough to be understood by God I needed people to be there for me not with the answers I already know and not with counterfeit sympathy. I needed someone to simply make an effort to understand my questioning.

So when people come to you with their problems and tell you that they feel lonely what do you do? Do you pretend like you have all the answers? Do you stop and think “this person needs me?” people need to be heard. Listen to them.

Loneliness is not a product of misplaced value or lack of faith but one of negligent human response to emotion.

Life of a person is to be lived with people. With relationships of understanding. Make an effort to truly understand the people around you. This is more important than your work, your studies, even reading your bible in the morning. I’ve heard it said that a love for people comes from a love for God… maybe it’s the other way around. Or maybe they’re pretty much the same thing.

Matthew 22:37-40 37Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ 38This is the first and greatest commandment. 39A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40All the other commandments and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”


Danny said…
There are some good ideas here, although I would suggest that reading the Bible and prayer are still important aspects of the Christian life (I know you probably mean this to, I just wanted to clarify it for myself).

What makes you think loving God and loving people are the same?
I began blogging mainly because I needed to be heard. One of my first posts was "no one listens to me"
I talk alot, most teachers do, but it seems when i have something really important (to me) to say, no one is out there. And I feel lonely sometimes becasue I am such a "nice" person, kind of the pollyanna type, and if I'm done in the dumps, no one seems to notice.
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God and everyone that loveth is born of God and knowth God, he that Loveth not, knowth not God, for God is love...beloved, let us love one another. I John 4:7,8
Flip said…
You said: "I needed someone to simply make an effort to understand my questioning."

How that statement rings true with me.

Good post - and its funny how you bring this topic up of listening and understanding people around you. I was in a professional seminar today and the speaker said that most of us are BAD listeners. It's definitely something to keep in mind and to PRACTICE.
Kate said…
Thanks for listening. 1 Cor 12:18
Pastor Art said…
Oh, man I was just thinking about this today since Maryellen - my earthly beloved - is away dancing. The main part of my vocation is prayer, study, and when ever I get a chance public teaching. Back to thought; I guess I could be understood as a “protestant” monastic. The relationship between Yahweh and me is hard to even put into words ( I captured this in a couple of worship songs lately). The beginning of my escape from Paganism and drugs became a hermitage. I lived in a cave on and off for a while and abandoned cabins. At that time the aspect of loneliness just did not occur to me. Some in their piety would say “I was so in the presents of Jesus that I did not need anyone else. I do not think that to be the case. He was doing a work in me that interaction with the “friends” of my past would destroy. (I may talk in more detail about this in the future no space here) dyslexia drug damage to my brain and demonic influences needed to be sorted out. His voice in word and interaction sometimes in my ears was what I needed to put my complete focus on at that time. When He was done with me I turned my face back to communities where people lived, starting with an old mining town in the Rockies ending up helping a church planting team in New York city! 'You know where they make that really good salsa.'
Paul in 1st Corinthians 7:5 speaking about married couples and the need for intimacy of prayer needed by us all says that couples should spend time apart for prayer by common consent. However notice he says they should not deprive one another for very long. This seems what He was doing with me in the caves and cabins. This warning I think can be expanded to the relationships between people generally.
The monistic vocation historicly was the enlisting of men and women for the task of intersession and spiritual warfare on behalf of the rest of the Body. This vocation is missing today among the members of the Body outside of the Roman Church. I think this worldwide call of prayer to the Body - things like the 10/40 window, Global day of Prayer, prayer for the Martyrs to mention a few is the Father asking some of us to come apart from the Body/Bride to be, for the goal of seeking His face. Those who do have this call will not notice the lake of relationship among other people because He the Father is trying to develop something among us and is calling a number of His children to His Face. When we are done having our lives formed in the way He wants we will be released to turn again to interact with the rest of His Body. Many will bring messages of reform like Paul others will challenge the Church like Elijah of Jeremiah or even John the Mikva man.

Knowing what part we “Play’ in this shift that is coming will help us to not point fingers mock or feel guilty for not being like our neighbor, who we must Agape but not copy.
Pastor Art
(I hope this is not to confusing I can tend to be thick in my thinking sorry)
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