- LONELINESS: BANE OF THE CHRISTIAN SINGLE
- by Dr. Ken Matto
- The subject of this study is loneliness. It is really amazing in a
world of 6 billion people that loneliness can be so pandemic. I want to deal with some
symptoms and causes of loneliness. There is no way to cover every cause or symptom of
emotional frustration because as complex as our problems are, our emotions follow in
cadence. Emotions gone awry can become a prison to a person, even a saved person because
they tend to cover every facet of our being. We view our lives, make decisions, make
social contacts through a fragmented emotional state and if we do not seek help, some of
those decisions will be costly and may remain with us all our lives.
- Loneliness is real and is not imagined as it is widespread in the
church. It is not peculiar to only one group, yet I believe it is more prevalent among
single Christians. Loneliness affects our:
- 1 Attitudes
- 2 Outlook on Life
- 3 Motivations
- 4 Relationships
- 5 Spirituality
- Our help can only come from the Bible as the only foundation a
Christian can grasp healing truth from.
- SYMPTOMS OF LONELINESS
- High Degree of Materialism
- A lonely person attempts to fill voids in their life with material
goods. There is a belief that loneliness will flee if I have more material things to
satisfy the pangs of loneliness. This leads to consistent lifestyle of buying and selling
which may cause a person to incur much debt to keep up with others. Materialism does not
deliver a person from the bondage of loneliness, instead it projects them into another
form of bondage.
- Intimidated by Quietness
- A lonely person will turn some appliance on whenever they enter a
room, even if it is not conducive to whatever they are planning. A radio, TV, stereo, or
something just to break the spell of quietness has on people. Quietness can be a thing of
great beauty but to a lonely person it is like a coffin.
- Consistent Activity
- A lonely person tends to create busyness in their life. This is done
to fill the time voids. If they slow down, they will dwell on their loneliness, so they
create work instead of dealing with it which is like putting a Band-Aid on the wound. It
will cover it but it will not heal it. I know single people who do not (not cannot) slow
down from the time they rise to the time they plop into bed exhausted. Busy work is good
therapy but it is not a cure for loneliness.
- Now let me confuse you for a minute. Work is a major method of
bringing a person out of loneliness into usefulness. I speak of legitimate work, not
created work for Band-Aid therapy. I will speak more on work therapy later. If you are
busy and never slow down, you may have a problem with loneliness which you are masking.
Let me say there are people who have very fulfilled lifestyles which are normal for them.
I am speaking of people who cannot sit down to read a book because they have trouble
remaining in one place for any period of time. The Bible teaches in Isaiah 48:22,
"There is no peace, saith the LORD, unto the wicked." I have seen unbelievers
who run from dawn till dusk because they cannot sit still. There is no peace in their
life. Many Christians do the same thing until God may decide to slow them down with
disease or situation change in which the Christian will have no recourse except to wait on
God for resolution of problem. Either we slow down or be slowed down. If you are one who
does not like to sit still, then search yourself to see if you suffer from loneliness.
- Pre-Occupation with Self
- A lonely person is prone to become obsessed with self. They have no
other person to care for, so the big "I" becomes number one. Everything this
person does is viewed through the eyes of WII-FM which means, "Whats in it for
Me?" This leads to poor habits concerning church attendance or bad attitudes at work.
When a person becomes their own god, they tend to detach themselves from the reality of
the needs of others around them. Money, time, material goods, are all expended when the
self can be seemingly satisfied. Pre-occupation with self is the father of materialism. If
we view ourselves as the important ones, we will act in accordance with that belief.
Selfism blinds us to others and sends us deeper into the world of loneliness when the
opposite is sought.
- High Attachment to Familiarity
- A lonely person attaches themselves to the familiar bases in life.
They will desire to stay at home more than normal since the home is a place of protection.
They will fear new adventures, even in controlled environments such as the local church.
We build a security zone where we feel comfortable and confident. If you are afraid to
seek new adventures, look at Deuteronomy 31:8, "And the LORD, he it is that doth go
before thee; he will be with thee, he will not fail thee, neither forsake thee: fear not,
neither be dismayed." You ain't goin nowhere God aint been first. Now all of us feel
more secure with the familiar things in our life but the key is when you are obsessed with
being in or around them constantly.
- Excessive TV Watching
- A lonely person can fall into the satanic trap of excessive TV
watching. This may lead to a person finding an identity in a portrayed role. As a
Christian our identity is in Christ and when we adopt and adapt to a fantasy role, we sink
deeper into loneliness because the role we choose can only be played out on that TV set,
not in real life. Excessive TV watching can lead to severe physical complications such as:
obesity, hemorrhoids from too much sitting, heart condition from no exercise, diminished
lung capacity, diabetes from incessant munching, etc. A person who watches TV from the
time they come home till the time they go to sleep is suffering from loneliness. Watching
TV only compounds the loneliness.
- Social Activities viewed with Fear
- Not all loneliness is self inflicted because many have been trained
to accept rejection as a way of life. If a person is trained in the art of receiving
rejection, they will fear to reach out so they will not be rejected. Instead they will be
doing the rejection which in their eyes will put them in control of the situation. This is
deceit of the highest. A person who fears social intercourse is suffering from the pangs
- Bible Study viewed as non-essential
- A lonely Christian may view studying the Bible as non-essential
since they feel they have no place to use the information they learn. A person who stays
home and does not go out, may view that information as useless. They may cling to the
attitude that no one wants my opinion anyway. What must be kept in mind is that when we
study the Bible, the information God gives us is for us first, not for others. When we
have absorbed the information and put it to use, then we can teach others what we have
learned. A lonely person should study the Bible more than anyone because it dispels all
fears and negative notions we have created about ourselves. A fact that exists is that
when you come to know much about Scripture, people will be coming to you for help, thus
ending isolated loneliness.
- Sexual Fantasies
- Another sign of loneliness is when we dwell on sexual encounters. We
have an innate belief that we would become satisfied if we could just have sex on a
regular basis. This is a harmful process for a Christian since it blinds us to truth and
breaks the warning the Lord Jesus Christ gave us in Matthew 5:28, "But I say unto
you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her
already in his heart."
- Of course this applies to both men and women. Whenever we have a
sexual fantasy, it diverts our mind from the things of Christ and sets up another god in
our life, which must be expelled. Sexual fantasies may lead to a life of masturbation
which itself is a vicious cycle of sin. It is four-fold:
- 1 It begins with sexual thought. This is the place to abort the
idea, as soon as it enters the mind.)
- 2 Then the act.
- 3 Then the guilt.
- 4.Then the repentance.
- If we keep harboring sexual fantasies, then we will experience the
vicious cycle which could become a stronghold in our life as we read in 2 Corinthians
10:4, "(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the
pulling down of strong holds;)"
- Feelings turn Inward
- A lonely person may portray a hardened, callous exterior since they
have turned their feelings inward. A lonely person may believe they have no one to share
their hurts and joys with, so instead of the feelings going outward, they go inward and
collect like a volcano building pressure heading toward eruption. Feelings that go inward
will eventually come out, whether voluntarily or involuntarily and this will give the
impression a person is callous. When a person begins to reveal traits of anger or cynicism
in normal speech, it is time to get help and diffuse the time bomb. A great place to
diffuse the bomb is in the Scriptures.
- We have looked at ten symptoms which loneliness may produce. When we
see any of these symptoms occurring on a repetitive basis, we must do a self-examination
of the root causes of them. If we allow them to go unchecked, there will be more trouble
ahead for us. It is like disease, if we allow the symptoms to just exist without
investigation, the consequences may be more serious.
- I wish to examine some ways in which loneliness becomes a fortress
in our lives. We will have two sections: First, reasons we cannot control; and secondly,
reasons we can control.
- Reasons We Cannot Control
- Physical Injuries
- An active person may sustain an injury which will incapacitate them
for life and the crowd they once ran with has now run from them. This situation may bring
on a feeling of abandonment. If the injured person does not accept their injury at the
outset, a deep loneliness will pervade their life.
- Death of a Spouse
- The death of a spouse will bring on feelings of abandonment. It may
also be accompanied by angry feelings toward the deceased in the disorientation phase of
the grief process. No one can prevent a death of anyone since all our times are already
determined by God as we read in Psalm 90.
- Death of a Friend
- This may also bring on loneliness equal in strength to the death of
a spouse. When two people form a life long friendship and then one dies, a sudden feeling
of aloneness overtakes the survivor. As with a spouse, there is a reality that a new way
of living must now be sought. The void the departed person left must be filled and it is
important of what the void is filled with. The passing of a loved one or close friend
creates a vulnerable time for the survivor and this is where Satan likes to attack and get
a person to turn to sin to fill the void. It is at this point where the Christian must
turn completely over to Christ, even if an air of perplexity exists.
- Marriage of a Close Friend
- When two single people have hung around together for many years and
then one gets married, there may arise a feeling of loss. Now it is not that they will
never see their friend again but the relationship will be different. The single person
must either re-orient themselves to make new friendships or expand their friendship base,
or put themselves into an isolated state of existence. I think we as Christians make a
mistake which comes back to haunt us. We hook up with one person who becomes a friend or
mentor to us and then we do not seek other close relationships. Sometimes our inner circle
friendships become almost cultic in nature. This is why single groups are so vital because
the opportunity exists to be close to many people, so if the Lord takes one home or they
get married, we are not left in a period of loneliness.
- Reasons Under Our Control
- A belief we are inferior to others
- This is a self-induced system of beliefs that I am a nobody with
nothing to offer. This mindset is programmed into us by parents, peers, and others in
authority. There is no human being inferior to another, we are all at different stages and
areas in life. A person who believes they are inferior will never offer themselves because
they believe they have nothing to offer and will remain in a lonely state all their lives
unless something is done about it. This person is a challenge for the singles group but
inferiority need not be permanent. If this person finds acceptance in your group, normally
they go from timid to one of the best members of the group. Here are some questions to ask
yourself concerning this:
- 1. Why do you feel inferior?
- 2. Are you making a comparison of yourself to others? (2 Cor.
- 3. Who are you inferior to?
- 4. Have you fully evaluated your talents, gifts, and potential?
- 5. Under what conditions did you make this evaluation?
- 6. Does God think you are inferior?
- 7. Why are you inferior?
- A belief that you are Superior
- A self-induced system of beliefs that others are inferior to me
prevents me from fellowship with those of less talent, ability, or social standing. This
attitude is sometimes drilled into children born into rich affluent families. The person
with this attitude is a professional fault finder because the superior person believe they
know everything. This person will be lonely simply because they cannot make friends since
everyone is beneath them. No one can get close to them to form a friendship. Here are some
questions to ask concerning this:
- 1. What is the basis of your belief that you are superior.
- 2. Who are you superior to?
- 3. Superiority is pride, how do you view it?
- 4. Are you superior in every phase of your life?
- 5. Does God think you are superior?
- 6. Why are you superior?
- Programmed for Rejection
- This is a person who has been rejected by friends, family, or
others. They will become lonely because they will stay clear of becoming involved or
forming friendships. This is done to prevent any more rejection in their life. They are so
programmed to believe that everyone will reject them, they just subsist in this life. This
person tends to transfer all their past rejections, whether real or imagined, to the
present. Here are some questions to ask concerning this:
- 1. Who rejected you?
- 2. Was it an isolated incident?
- 3. Was it a permanent rejection?
- 4. Who programmed you for rejection?
- 5. Have you looked for areas in your life where you are accepted?
- 6. Why do you project rejection?
- 7. Who rejects you now?
- 8. Who accepts you now? Has God rejected you?
- The Elijah Syndrome
- This person becomes lonely because they believe that no one holds to
the same beliefs they do, so they will not form friendships or become involved in church,
fearing that aberrant beliefs held by the church or group will rub off on them. When a
person believes they have a corner on truth, there will be a shying away from others to
prevent adulterating their pure truth. Here are some questions to ask yourself about this:
- 1. Do you believe you have a solitary corner on truth?
- 2. Do you believe that you are the only one who speaks for God?
- 3. Is a Christian alone in their thinking or is there others who may
- We do not Accept Ourselves
- We refuse to believe God has accepted us without any special work on
our part. Many know they are saved but live under an umbrella of self-rejection. If a
person does not accept themselves or the state they are in, they will believe others
wont accept them either and this results in withdrawal from the main stream and
normally finishes in a manufactured private world.
- Laziness leads directly to loneliness, you dont even pass go
with this one. A lazy person does not want to become involved with anything. They
voluntarily create their own loneliness prison. Laziness like loneliness can be fixed.
- Realities behind Loneliness
- Loneliness is a Choice
- Loneliness happens when we choose to lengthen grief beyond normal
time expectations. Hibernation and withdrawal from life is either a conscious or
unconscious decision, but nevertheless it is a decision. Christian couch potatoes are
transplanted not planted. When we choose a life of isolation, loneliness is the main
result of that decision. God designed it that way so we would seek fellowship among other
believers because even if you do not feel it, you are part of the greater body of Christ
and you have a purpose.
- Loneliness is a feeling not a belief
- A belief is something which is a conviction and normally that belief
is rooted in some type of teaching or truth. A person may hold beliefs in a false system
and this is why we see so many people fighting against the truth. They are convinced their
belief system is correct. The same principle applies to loneliness in the body of Christ.
Loneliness is not a belief rooted in truth, rather it is a feeling because God made the
Christian in such a manner that they are a needed part of the body. Each Christian has
certain gifts and talents, and this makes them a vital part of the body. When they are
missing a void occurs which can only be repaired when the lonely Christian re-enters the
market place. So loneliness is only a feeling because it is not rooted in any teaching in
Scripture. (Isaiah 49:14-16)
- Loneliness is a False Assessment of the Situation
- Do you remember Elijah? He thought he was the only one left who did
not worship false gods in Israel. God assured him that he was not the only one but there
were 7000 who did not bow the knee to Baal. If you are in a dead church, you will
definitely feel lonely. You need to be obedient and come out from these religious
cemeteries and your Christian life will blossom as you are no longer hindered because of
dead orthodoxy. You are not alone as there are millions of Christians and many Churches
where you will find acceptance. If you are lonely, you have not assessed the Christian
walk correctly. Step back and analyze. Find out why other Christians are happy and you are
- Loneliness is Anticipation and Fulfillment of that Anticipation
- In other words, what you look for, you will find. If you choose to
anticipate loneliness, you will find it. You set your mind on a certain situation and you
will build on that foundational philosophy. Let me illustrate: You go to a singles
gathering and you anticipate you will not be accepted so what happens is, in your mind you
are not accepted, so when someone laughs, you think they are laughing at you, when two
people talk you will think they are talking about you, etc.
- So what you anticipate, you will find plenty of. The problem is that
you have not assessed the situation properly. Now let me say that I do not discount the
reality of cliques in groups and churches. A clique is a difficult thing to break into and
be a part of but since most cliques are gossip centers, it is better for you to stay away
from them. Dont let Satan allow you to project defeat in your life. Christ went to
the cross so we could have victory.
- Loneliness can become Self-Centeredness
- Pre-occupation with self is a great cause of
loneliness and sometimes this happens because a single person does not have
another to look after, be with, or converse with. When someone lives
alone for many years, they tend to do things which benefit themselves since
they are alone and this would not be something out of the ordinary.
Think about it for a minute, they shop for themselves, invest for
themselves, live where they believe it is the most convenient, buy the car
they want or need, basically their lives revolve around themselves just as a
family life would revolve around the family. In reality a single
person is a one person family. This does not mean they are in sin, but
it means since they have lived alone for so many years, they are used to
doing things or buying things based only on their singular needs, just as a
family of four would do. Where the loneliness becomes
self-centeredness is when the person begins to be a recluse and refuses to
go beyond the borders of their present lifestyle. It is at this point
that a lonely person may need a little extra coaxing.
- Loneliness is similar to non-physically caused depression. Both types of
people focus on themselves and as a result of any failures or outside situations, they
crawl into the "woe is me" syndrome and stay there. They tend to use other
people to feed their sympathy ego which normally accompanies these voluntary conditions.
(I in the Greek is "ego.") The sympathy ego follows like sneezing does a cold.
If you know someone you have been coddling who is into these conditions, then stop,
because you are helping perpetuate their sin of self-centeredness. 1 Corinthians 13:11
reads, "When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as
a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things." The key word is
"put away" which is "katargeo" in the Greek and carries the meaning of
destroy, abolish, or cease. That is all you should do with childish behavior.
- DEALING WITH LONELINESS
- Now we come to the part which will help you break out of the
loneliness which has held you in bondage.
- Start Right At The Point Where You Are Now
- Dont try to figure out what happened but start to evaluate
your life from this point on. Begin and you will have light at the end of the proverbial
tunnel and it will not be an oncoming train.
- Assess your Gifts and Talents
- Sit down and make an assessment of your obvious gifts and talents.
Do not dig deep and over-assess or you may attempt something outside your sphere of talent
and fail which may cause you to go back into a state of loneliness, if you allow it
- The Key to Breaking the Loneliness Grip
- The key to breaking the loneliness grip on you is found in Matthew
7:7: "Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be
opened unto you:
- ASK the Lord for:
- -Boldness of spirit to reach out
- -Open doors of opportunity
- -A close Christian friend
- -Ways to broaden your friendship base
- -A home Bible study
- -Steady work - Work therapy is a great loneliness buster
- SEEK opportunities in your realm of ability. There are plenty of
things to do with your gifts and talents. You need to do some research where you can find
open doors. If you are serious about reclaiming your Christian life, talk to your pastor,
I am sure he will have work for you around the church. The key is to be available and
- KNOCK on the doors of opportunity. When you find someplace you
believe you would fit in, go for it. Do not fear because Satan has no problem exchanging
gifts. He will be glad to exchange your loneliness for fear. God will have a place of
service for you (its probably waiting for you right now) but you must trust Him to
place you in His time and place.
- Did you notice the cure for loneliness? It is not a great mystery
and does not even require in-depth counseling but it does involve guidance. Loneliness is
cured by a voluntary desire to reclaim your life for Christ and serve Him as we are
commanded to. We may not have caused our loneliness but may have nurtured it. God is right
there to help you and pick you up. In fact I am going to list 10 verses which will give
you encouragement to come out of the prison of loneliness. You see loneliness is the only
prison where we pass judgment, sentence ourselves, and then carry out the sentence in our
- Deut. 4:31 We are written in Gods Covenant
- Deut. 31:6 God goes with us
- Deut. 33:27 God is our refuge
- 1 Sam. 12:22 We are Gods people
- Psalm 27:10 God will keep us
- Psalm 31:7 God knows our trouble
- Psalm 46:1 God is our strength
- Psalm 55:22 Christ is our sustainer
- Psalm 112:4 He places His light on us
- Psalm 147:3 God is our healer
- God surely has not abandoned us!