You were not created to live in isolation – you were designed to live in community. God informed Adam, “It is not good for the man to be alone.” We desire true community, but why does it seem so elusive? We may be disconnected from one another, from ourselves, and from God.

When people are disconnected from one another they realize the loneliness of isolation. Solitude and isolation are not synonymous. Solitude is a personal choice arising from an inner desire. Isolation is usually forced from the outside and can have adverse effects on the individual.

People will seek a relationship with others and if they do not connect with a healthy person they may connect with someone who makes them feel inadequate or condemned. When the pain becomes too great people will leave and they will tend to gravitate toward relationships or activities that make them feel good. They may develop a pseudo connection pursuing fantasies or addictive behaviors.

A genuine relationship is a connection in which you can be your whole self – the real, authentic self that is free to be you. Your relationships with others are open and honest and both parties are mutually invested in one another. You can share what you truly think knowing that the relationship is based upon mutual trust.

Why does it seem so difficult to achieve an authentic, genuine connection with others? People have a tendency to put on a mask because they feel their real self is inadequate. We dare not let people see who we really are. So we remain alone with our sin living in lies and hypocrisy – missing the fellowship that could enable us to experience a genuine connection with others. The writer of the book of Hebrews realized the importance of genuine connection as he encouraged the readers,

and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near. (Hebrews 10:24-25)

The word “encourage” literally means “to call to one’s side,” hence, “to call to one’s aid.” The word has several nuances implying that one is called alongside to “comfort, encourage, or exhort”. True connection involves being emotionally and functionally invested in other people. Words of comfort that are skillfully administered can be one of the best known therapies to man.

Like apples of gold in settings of silver is a word spoken in right circumstances. (Proverbs 25:11)

Everyone needs encouragement, may God use you to encourage others.

RickAssociate Pastor – Discipleship.  The Church at LifePark

Professor of Discipleship, Columbia International University

Follow me on twitter:  rickhiggins5