A Biblical Response to The Epidemic of Loneliness

He will place the lonely in families…

It should come as no surprise, that on the heels of the pandemic, in which we were institutionally isolated, there is another crisis looming. The epidemic is loneliness. It is such a predicament that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has issued an advisory with steps that we should take to combat the impact of this potentially deadly malady. You can read the whole advisory here, but a word of warning, it is eighty pages long and might leave you feeling sad or even… lonely.

Surgeon General’s Advisory on Our Epidemic of Loneliness and Isolation – PDF

The Holiday season is notoriously one of the loneliest times of the year. But it does not only reserve the months of November and December to wreak havoc in the lives and hearts of people throughout the world. It is a plague that can assault us at strategic and unexpected times in our daily lives. 

It is a weapon in the hands of the Enemy, but it is a powerful invitation from the Almighty to run to Him and be held in His comforting embrace. 

Note: At the time I first wrote this article, the Surgeon General had not released his study or recommendations. I have, since, included some of his information on the subject and how we as a church and individual believers should respond. 

I don’t want to get too preachy here or even remotely political, but this loneliness is a direct result of the destruction of the fabric of our society, faith and family.

Throughout history, the core of our social functioning has been the nuclear and extended family and our church families. And throughout history, the Enemy as struck out at these institutions with vehemence. 

In my woeful thinking, it has NEVER been this bad. But if you study history, really it has been worse. The difference, I think, is the masking of this “crisis” by the use of all forms of media. 

Social Media would make us believe that individual worlds are all rosy, while mainstream media is clear that the whole world is going to hell in a handbasket. Why can’t we just all tell the truth? This may be a redundant question, but the answer is, because very few know The Truth (John 8:32). Truth has become relative and so people have become like waves tossed about on the ocean. 

Loneliness is not a new struggle. 

In my senior year at a large Christian college, I was a dorm prayer leader. I had a regular group of eight to ten college girls who would come to my room twice a week for devotions and prayer. Twice a year the leaders would choose a topic and the girls could go to whichever prayer group with the topic they thought would be most beneficial to them.

I was speaking on loneliness. There were ten groups and a total of seventy to eighty girls in the dorm. I expected maybe five or six to show up. After all, how could someone be lonely in a dorm of eighty residents, at a Christian college with upwards of 4,000 professing Christians? 

Twenty girls showed up to my relatively small dorm room. They were sitting on my roommates’ beds, on the floor, on the sink and desks. I had to turn girls away and do a second session. Every one of those girls expressed that they were in the loneliest season of their lives. 

The prophet, Elijah, running for his life, cried out to God, “I alone am left; and they seek to take my life.” I Kings 19 It was in his utter loneliness and despair that he heard God’s still small voice, a whispered assurance the God cared and that he was, in fact, not alone.

Can you imagine how lonely Job was when his friends pummeled him emotionally and his wife told him to curse God and die?

Can you imagine how lonely Jesus was in the garden and His disciples fell asleep when He needed their support the most, or when Peter completely denied even knowing Him?

In his report, the Surgeon General has a list of recommendations to combat this epidemic. As believers and as the church, we should know, the Great Physician has already given us the remedy. The six recommendations by the Surgeon General are listed below with some ideas on how we as believers and as a church can respond. 

Strengthen Social Infrastructure:

The Surgeon General:

 “Connections are not just influenced by individual interactions, but by the physical elements of a community (parks, libraries, playgrounds) and the programs and policies in place. To strengthen social infrastructure, communities must design environments that promote connection, establish and scale community connection programs, and invest in institutions that bring people together.”

The Great Physician:

Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed.If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble.Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken. Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 (NLT)

Throughout Scripture, we are encouraged to weave a community so that we will not be easily shaken. Throughout history much of that support system was the church being the hands and feet of Jesus. 

The church as a whole is facing a new challenge. We may have become weary in well doing and have dropped the responsibility of our “neighbor’s” well-being (spiritual, emotional, and physical) fall into the hands of the government and healthcare industry. That, my friends, is a scary thought. 

Even as I am writing this, I am convicted and challenged as to how I am caring for my “neighbor.” How am I staying connected? How am I helping provide for their needs? What structures or outreaches is my church doing to be the hands and feet of Jesus in our hurting world?

Enact Pro-Connection Public Policies:

The Surgeon General

 “National, state, local, and tribal governments play a role in establishing policies like accessible public transportation or paid family leave that can support and enable more connection among a community or a family.”

The Great Physician:

Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near. Hebrews 10:23-25 (NLT)

Our churches (and the individuals within our churches) need to be drawing people in to encourage them and motivate them. We need to rely on the gifts He has given us to minister within the body of Christ and outside of our church walls. We need to love on the widows and orphans (James 1:27), welcome the hurting and lonely (Matthew 22:8-10) and feed the hungry (Matthew 25:35-36).

Mobilize the Health Sector:

The Surgeon General:

 “Because loneliness and isolation are risk factors for several major health conditions (including heart disease, dementia, depression) as well as for premature death, health care providers are well-positioned to assess patients for risk of loneliness and intervene.”

The Great Physician:

A cheerful heart is good medicine,
    but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength. 
Proverbs 17:22 (NLT)

We were filled with laughter, and we sang for joy. And the other nations said,
    “What amazing things the Lord has done for them.” 
Psalm 126:2 (NLT)

Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand. 
Isaiah 41:10 (NLT)

God places the lonely in families… Psalm 68:6

The National Library on Medicine has written a lengthy piece on the benefits of laughter.  You can read it here: The Laughter Prescription.

The Great Physician knew we would need to laugh when He created us. The best thing about laughter as a prescription is that it is free, needs no prior authorization, produces immediate results of uplifted spirits, physical energy and renewal, and it actually lowers blood pressure. 

The health care industry does not prescribe laughter, and it certainly does not make me laugh! But have you ever been with friends and had to sit down right on the ground because you were laughing so hard? I have, and I know that laughter is just what I needed to “feel better.” 

Reform Digital Environments:

The Surgeon General

 “We must critically evaluate our relationship with technology and ensure that how we interact digitally does not detract from meaningful and healing connection with others.”

The Great Physician:

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-2

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer… Psalm 19:14 (NLT)

Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them. Ephesians 4:29b

Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else. For we are each responsible for our own conduct. Galatians 6:4-5

Countless friendships have been ruined by thoughtless words on social media. Families have been divided. Unfair comparisons are made, and jealous thoughts perpetuated. People of all ages, all over the world are addicted to TikTok, Facebook, Instagram, and other media outlets that falsely fuel self-worth or self-loathing. 

There is an old saying, “You can’t legislate morality.” And really, it is true. We can only legislate our own hearts and minds. We cannot look to social media as the Author and Finisher of our faith. We must keep our eyes fixed on Jesus who will not condemn us or elevate us in our own minds. But He will help us to see ourselves and others through the lens of His redeeming love and grace. 

We can use social media as a means of connection and ministry, but we cannot let media and the Enemy use it as a weapon of mass destruction to our character and to the moral fiber of society. 

Deepen Our Knowledge:

The Surgeon General:

 “A more robust research agenda, beyond the evidence outlined in the advisory, must be established to further our understanding of the causes and consequences of social disconnection, populations at risk, and the effectiveness of efforts to boost connection.”

The Great Physician:

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heartJeremiah 29:11-13

The Surgeon General suggests that further research needs to be done to understand why people are lonely and what can be done about it. I have to say, right now, I feel like face palming my forehead and saying, “ARE YOU KIDDING ME RIGHT NOW?”  

Do we really need to spend billions of dollars to see that we have taken our eyes off Jesus and put our own selfish souls on the throne of our hearts? 

I have days when I am terribly lonely, missing my kids, missing my friends, maybe having a bit of a self-pity party. I will call one and then the next, then the next, and no one answers. Those moments are when I realize I need to quit focusing inward and reach out to Jesus. 

He is always available. Always wants to chat. Always wants to show me the way to go. Always shows compassion and comfort. And as 2 Corinthians 1:4 tells us “He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.

Cultivate a Culture of Connection:

The Surgeon General:

The informal practices of everyday life (the norms and culture of how we engage one another) significantly influence the relationships we have in our lives. We cannot be successful in the other pillars without a culture of connection.”

The Great Physician:

Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess.For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approachGod’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of needHebrews 4:14-16

Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ.If you think you are too important to help someone, you are only fooling yourself… Galatians 6:2-3

See also Hebrews 10:23-25 

We are not created to be alone. We are created to be in a community. Some are extroverts and finding community is no great challenge. Others are introverts and have to intentionally work to establish friendships and a community in which they can be transparent and supported. 

The most apparent extroverts who are surrounded by people all of the time can be lonely and ones who are viewed as introverts who “don’t need” much social interaction can be drowning in a river of self-isolation. 

Scripture is given to ALL of us, introverts, extroverts and those somewhere in the middle. It directs us to rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep. It tells us to encourage one another, hold each other accountable, pray for each other, and love one another. 

While there are many dangers of loneliness, there can also be benefits to it as well. These bullet points and verses are provided as a means for further study and reflection on the pitfalls and blessings of loneliness. 

Dangers of Loneliness:

  • Loneliness can be masked – We can be with hundreds of people daily yet be lonely.
  • Isolation can be dangerous – There is no accountability, the wrong kind of noise or narrative can be present in our heads. 
  • We can become lazy in our relationships and communications.
  • We can become too self-focused. 
  • What danger do you face in your lonely times?


Sometimes the Lord will use loneliness to help us rest, even when we are resisting it. Reflecting on God’s goodness and blessing in our lives can dissipate the feelings of loneliness.


  • Be still and revel in who God is (Psalm 46)
  • Come unto me all you who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28-30)
  • Our God who never sleeps or never slumbers gave us an example of resting. Did you know 14% of creation was spent in rest.
  • Resting in Jesus should help us stop the busy and self-destructive noise in our heads. Take every thought captive 2 Corinthians 10:5


  • As water reflects the face, so one’s life reflects the heart Proverbs 27:19
  • Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.  Psalm 34:8
  • God also gave us the example, in creation, to look back and reflect on what we have done. In our case, good and bad, so that we can give glory to God and also take satisfaction in a job well done (Galatians 6:4-5) or make course corrections where needed.



  • What treasures are you gathering? Luke 12:34 – where your treasure is there will your heart be… 
  • Are you seeking God first? Matthew 6:33
  • Are you a  Mary or a Martha? Are we too busy doing “stuff”… even if it is good stuff, is it the right stuff? Are we looking at all the stuff and not our Savior? Luke 10:38-42
  • Let us throw off anything that hinders us from running the race (distracts us from God’s will which is to glorify Him in all we do) Hebrews 12


  •  But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed. Luke 5:15-16
  • Psalm 51:12 – restore unto me the joy of thy salvation and renew a right spirit in me.
  • Restoration takes communication and commitment. Our Father wants us to lay it all out there for Him. He knows our hearts anyway; we might as well get his feedback. 
  • Search the scriptures, pray more, read a book with a message of God’s love and faithfulness.


To Jesus and to someone who needs a friend.

  • Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted. Psalm 25:16
  • In looking outward, you may meet the need of someone, even an angel. Hebrews 13: 1-3  


With new connections and with others who are already in your circles. 

  • “Make new friends but keep the old, one is silver and the other gold.”
  • Hebrews 10:23-25 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds,  not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
  • Proverbs 27:9 Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart, and the pleasantness of a friend springs from their heartfelt advice.
  • Psalm 133  How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!
  • Romans 12:10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.

Finally, I Peter 4:8-10 Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.  Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.

What can you do today to reverse the effects of loneliness in your life? How can you help someone else out of the pit of loneliness? How can we, as a church and as individuals, respond to this “epidemic of loneliness” in a God honoring and healing way? 

I would love to hear your ideas and feedback. Maybe together we can be a part of the cure to this devastating epidemic.  

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort,  who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. Amen

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