Suppose you were to be shipwrecked on a proverbial desert island. Would you prefer to be shipwrecked alone so the meagre food and shelter resources of the island would last longer, or would you prefer a companion despite the fact this would more speedily deplete the available resources for yourself?
It’s my guess that most folk would take the companion, or at least desperately wish they had after a few days of tedious isolation.
Psychologists tell us that loneliness can be very destructive. It can become a chronic condition leading to depression, loss of sleep and appetite, impaired immune and cardiovascular function, even suicide. Like food and shelter, companionship too is a basic human need. “It is not good for the man to be alone,” said God of His first created human (Gen. 2:18).
In fact, we were designed to need each other. Man, created in the image of God, is incomplete in isolation. We must remember that God Himself exists as a Trinity, a triune fellowship.
Solomon, in the great wisdom God had given him, observed,
“…I saw something meaningless under the sun: There was a man all alone; he had neither son nor brother. There was no end to his toil, yet his eyes were not content with his wealth. ‘For whom am I toiling,’ he asked, ‘and why am I depriving myself of enjoyment?’ This too is meaningless— a miserable business! / Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” (Eccl. 4:7-12)
There is much wisdom in these few lines.
Dependence on and cooperation with each other enhances our ability to survive under harsh conditions. Two heads are better than one in any crisis, and companionship is a a joy to share when all is well. Love finds no object but personal ego when one is alone, and true self-sacrifice on any scale is impossible. Accountability is gone. Support and encouragement are gone, forgiveness cannot grow and there exists no example of higher virtue to emulate.
Many commands of Christ become impracticable:
“…love each other deeply… Offer hospitality to one another… use whatever gift you have received to serve others…” (1 Pet. 4:8-10). “…Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15:12-13). “Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.” (Prov. 13:20). “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” (Col. 3:13).
… to mention but a few.
There are no self-made saints, no independent Christians. Christ has likened His people to a Body, each believer being a part, not the whole. Like any body part, any believer separated from the Body will soon die. But working together we can thrive – we can even avoid becoming shipwrecked at all!
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