In this age when instant connection is at our fingertips, loneliness has become an epidemic. About half of all Americans are lonely, according to a recent survey. Forty-seven percent of respondents reported feeling lonely or left out. Thirteen percent said they didn’t have even one person who knew them well.
As followers of Christ, we’re well-positioned to reach out to people with His love. This doesn’t mean we’ll never feel lonely. We still, after all, live in a fallen world. But as part of the family of God, the church, we belong to a community that should be characterized by God’s love for Him and for one another (v. 11). John has taught us that love and obedience are evidence of spiritual rebirth: “We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love each other” (v. 14).
Not loving is evidence that a person is not actually a child of God. Cain, for example, murdered his own brother. Jealous of Abel’s accepted sacrifice, he ignored God’s warning and acted based on hatred, thus demonstrating that he “belonged to the evil one” (v. 12; Gen. 4:1–16). Just as Cain hated Abel, the world hates Christians (v. 13). Persecution is to be expected.
The surprise is when someone claiming to be a brother or sister in Christ does not display love to others in God’s family. This shows that this person is not really a child of God, and even more, that they’re a “murderer” like Cain (v. 15). God’s eternal life does not reside in such a person.
Love for our fellow believers is a Christian necessity. This doesn’t mean we hate unbelievers; after all, Christ commanded us to love our enemies (Matt. 5:43–48). But our love for our brothers and sisters should be a special priority and focus.
>> Today, why not pray to make a new friend? Someone at your workplace, in your neighborhood or even in your church might be looking for one. You could be the answer to their prayer.
It’s easy to detect our own loneliness; less so to pick up on others’. Lord, we ask for an opportunity to befriend someone in need of fellowship. Give us this opportunity to share Your love with someone who feels alone.