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| David Tarkington |

Alone Together: Understanding Loneliness in a World Full of Connections

Years ago, I read an article that declared that if you desired the email you send to a person to be opened and read just put “You are not alone” in the subject line. I am not sure how that was determined. I am not even certain that is accurate. When I do a quick online search now for “most opened email subject line” the vast number of results are from marketing firms selling email services to businesses. For sake of argument, let’s just presume that “You are not alone” is the subject line of an email you have received in your inbox.

Why would that subject line be intriguing?

For those of a certain age this sounds like the tag line for a 1980s horror film. Thus, opening such an email would not be recommended. Yet, this subject has been stated by some now unfindable source to be the subject line of choice if you desire your email to be opened and read. Why? Apparently because loneliness is a very real issue. It has been for millennia, but in recent years has been declared an epidemic. The U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. Vivek H. Murthy released a 2023 report titled “Our Epidemic of Loneliness and Isolation” addressing what many have suspected but is now declared as a very real problem in our society.[1]

The World Health Organization has also declared our current state of loneliness to be a “global public health concern.” The report by the WHO references the U.S. Surgeon General’s report and now declares the health risks of the current levels of loneliness to be equivalent to smoking up to 15 cigarettes a day.[2] Suddenly this reality of loneliness has grabbed the attention of medical experts and media outlets globally. The loneliness dilemma was elevated due to the global COVID-19 lockdowns and while the debate continues to rage over the viability of such lockdowns, the consensus seems to be that all, especially the very young and very old, suffered most in this area. A recent Meta-Gallup survey revealed that one in four adults globally report feeling very or fairly lonely.[3]

Maybe America’s song from 1974 resonates now more than ever? “This is for all the lonely people thinking that life has left them by…”[4]

Lonely Even in a Crowd

As people seek to cure their own loneliness issues, attempts at coming together with others continue. Some are valid. Others just seem to fall short. Dr. Albert Mohler, President of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary has spoken on this recently. In his March 7, 2024 episode of “The Briefing” he references an article from The Financial Times of London on this very matter.[5]

A 2021 article featured in The Financial Times referenced books on the issue of loneliness and how the post-COVID world was facing a tidal wave of aloneness. Why would such an article be found in The Financial Times? Even before the lockdowns rendered loneliness a collective condition of the masses, the social, medical, and economic costs were becoming clear.[6] Thus, loneliness is costly.

More recently, the Times published another article centered on the same subject, but with the focus upon an app designed to allow lonely people to connect in public places. Apps like Meetup have been around for years and used for connecting people for skill sharing, networking, and social gathers. With loneliness seemingly growing, more apps are appearing in the online stores as more potential users seek help.

The writer of the Times article states that she did not plan to intend Valentine’s Day, the most romantic day of the year, having dinner with strangers, but that is what she ended up doing. The app, Timeleft, uses an algorithm to match up to six people together for dinner. Timeleft is a new app and on its site declares its aim “to combat loneliness, depression issues, and broken families.”[7]

As Albert Mohler states, the article is an interesting read, but is in fact, very sad.

It certainly does not require research to know that even in a crowd of people one can still feel lonely. Is this epidemic? It seems to be, but it is not new.

Loneliness Is Not New

From a biblical worldview, we should not be surprised at the growth and impact of loneliness. Is it just a result of COVID? Is loneliness solely a symptom of anxiety?

The numerous articles that began flooding our newsfeeds since October 2023, can lead one would think that simply acknowledging the issue, passing some legislation, or leaning into therapeutic responses would be the fix. Loneliness is a human problem, not a government problem.[8] If the government and politicians cannot fix the issue, then certainly a new app on one’s phone is the silver bullet, right?

Loneliness is serious. As suicides, drug abuse, and mental and physical maladies increase, it is to our benefit to seek solutions for ourselves and our loved ones. This is why many nations are seemingly coming together to acknowledge the challenges evident in increased loneliness.

This issue is not to be ignored. Human connection and interaction are vital. Conversing with Alexa or Siri may be fun, but even AI enhancements cannot replace human interactions. Virtual friendships via online gaming, chats, and social media can be true friendships, but the risk of catfishing and the fact that real, in-person, face-to-face interaction is absent provides an incomplete picture. People want to belong. They want friends. Maybe this is why sitcoms featuring groups of friends living life together resonate with so many and become multimillion-dollar hits? Could it be that people somehow become enamored with the make-believe characters of Friends, Seinfeld, The Big Bang Theory, How I Met Your Mother, and other such shows because somehow, down deep, audiences wish they had such a friend group in real life?

So, what is the answer?

What is the cure?

Biblically, we know that God’s design for his image bearers is not, as Ernest T. Bass from The Andy Griffith Show declared to “hermitize” oneself. Sequestering oneself away from all human interaction may seem safe, especially if one has been harmed by others, but ultimately doing so is playing into the Enemy’s gameplan of destruction. Yes, there is a very real spiritual aspect of this issue. You see, we are not simply mental, physical, emotional, or spiritual beings. We, as the image-bearers of God are all these combined, all to the glory of God.

In the beginning of the human story, God declared that being alone is not good. After creating everything that exists as described in Genesis, God declared that everything was good, except this one thing.

Genesis 2:18

Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.”[9]

It was not good for man to be alone.

It is still not good for man or woman to be alone.

This theme resonates throughout scripture.

Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken. (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12) [10]

There is safety in numbers, but the togetherness of God’s people is more than a safety protocol. Jesus would instruct his disciples to go two by two as they ministered to the people. Even in this subtle instruction, God was pushing against the natural (man-focused) bent to doing things on one’s own.

And he called the twelve and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits. (Mark 6:7 ESV) [11]

The enemy has for millennia sought to isolate, not unlike a predator seeking its prey.

Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:8 ESV) [12]

Loneliness is not new, and it has been the natural result of sin since the very beginning.

God’s Cure for Loneliness

In this era of deconstruction in evangelicalism, some have expressed how the organized church is unhealthy and wrong. In some very real and sad cases, the sins committed upon some within the church has led to such declarations. Despite all the bad chapters in this book of the church’s history, it is to our advantage to focus on the purpose and goodness of God’s bride.

Apologist, professor, and author Dr. Timothy Paul Jones has spoken much on the defense of truth. Yet he declares that the doubts of faith that previously centered on logic, science, miraculous claims, and other such topics now begins with the very morality of Christianity.[13] Jones has spoken and written much on this with solid proofs of the church’s goodness throughout history as God has designed. In one of the most compelling arguments, Jones refers to the church as a community of apologetics. In other words, as the church has remained faithful to God the community of faith has grown, not simply with more members, but with deeper, godly love-saturated relationships.

Throughout history, within God’s church Christians cared for each other in ways that required the presence of God. This led to civic good, radical generosity, and hospitality.[14] These are not simply historic realities but continue today.

Friendships are difficult. Maintaining deep friendships take effort. The cure for loneliness is not simply gathering with a bunch of people every few days, but in being willing to truly enter a “one another” relationship. While the world outside the church may seemingly create such moments, there will always be something missing if the gospel is absent.

A quick search of “one another” in the Bible reveals not only an expectation that Christians do ministry together as is often promoted in the church, but that Christians are to love one another and live life together as family…a forever family.

Paradise lost in Eden leaves humanity longing for what was. It is a cry for paradise as Paul David Tripp explains. The cry of a toddler who has fallen is a cry for paradise. The tears of the school-age child who has been rejected at the playground is a reach for paradise. The pain of aloneness that a person without friends or family feels is the pain of one longing for paradise.[15]

Rest assured, Jesus is our Savior. He is also our friend. He is the friend of sinners and for that I am so glad.

The church is God’s prescription for loneliness. Life in Christ is the cure.

[1] Murthy, Vivek H. “Our Epidemic of Loneliness and Isolation: The U.S. Surgeon General’s Advisory on the Healing Effects of Social Connection and Community.” U.S. Department of Health and Human Services,

[2] Johnson, Sarah. “WHO Declares Loneliness a ‘Global Public Health Concern.’” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 16 Nov. 2023,

[3] Nicioli, Taylor. “The Loneliness Epidemic: Nearly 1 in 4 Adults Feel Lonely, New Survey Finds.” CNN, Cable News Network, 24 Oct. 2023,

[4] America. “Lonely People.” George Martin, 1 Dec. 1974.

[5] Mohler, R. Albert, Jr. “The Briefing: Thursday, March 7, 2024.” Albert Mohler,

[6] Levitin, Mia. “All the Lonely People — The Power of Connection.” The Financial Times, 21 Aug. 2021,

[7] Staton, Bethan. “Can a Friendship App Cure Loneliness?” The Financial Times, 24 Feb. 2024,

[8] Cheaney, Janie B. “How to Cure the Epidemic of Loneliness.” WORLD, 6 Sept. 2023,

[9] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Ge 2:18.

[10] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Ec 4:9–12.

[11] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Mk 6:7.

[12] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), 1 Pe 5:8.

[13] Jones, Timothy Paul. “Apologetics: The Church Is the Evidence.” Timothy Paul Jones, 5 Nov. 2023,

[14] Jones.

[15] Tripp, Paul David. New Morning Mercies: A Daily Gospel Devotional (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2014), March 11.

Church Planting Champion

David Tarkington