Our circle of friends keeps shrinking. According to sociologist Lynn Smith-Lovin, nearly 50% of Americans report they discuss important matters with either one person or no one at all. And this includes family members!
In recent decades, the number of people who say they can turn to at least one non-family member dropped from 80% to 57%. Even more concerning, those who reported they had no one to talk to about important matters nearly tripled.
To most, the need for friendship appears self-evident. Yet, some of us have lived in isolation for so long that it’s hard to see the urgency in building them. Let me provide three reasons why we need friendship.
First, God designed the need for friendship into our human architecture. According to the Bible, the first man enjoyed perfect fellowship with God. And yet, God saw man’s longing for human connection. In Genesis 2:18, God declared, “It’s not good for man to be alone.” In fact, new research links loneliness with a higher risk of death. Brigham Young University released a study showing that feelings of isolation increased the risk of death by 26%. Even worse, living alone increased a person’s risk by 32%.
Second, following Christ requires us to love people and build close friendships. Sometimes you’ll hear people say, “I’m good with God, but I really don’t like people.” That’s impossible. According to the Bible, you can’t claim to love God and fail to love people (1 John 4:7, 8). If you love God, then you will adopt his love for people.Read More