June 26, 2014 - Two Are Better Than One
By Jerry D. Scott
Nothing can replace a friend! A project does not seem half as difficult when an extra pair of hands is available. A walk in the evening is much more enjoyable when a friend walks with you sharing the time and conversing about life.
Even worship takes on an entirely different dynamic at church compared to our private devotions. Sure, I can sing "How Great Thou Art" in my living room alone and the words are the same. But the song is much more majestic when lifted on the voices of 100 people joined in praise to their God, and the response of my soul is different too.
An isolated person is much more likely to have emotional and spiritual difficulties. Despair grows like a weed in the heart of the person who has withdrawn from others because of disappointment or pain. Sin flourishes when bitterness causes us to build walls of separation. We need each other. Having a friend is not just a luxury!
Dr. Dan Allender writes in The Cry of the Soul: "Without human relationships to provide us with encouragement and home, the world seems dangerous, cold, and profitless — in a word, meaningless. This perception leads to deeper, chronic despair when we ... escape into lonely isolation."
I am convinced one of America's greatest challenges goes beyond terrorism, crime or the state of the economy. We have a community crisis; a breakdown of human relationships that create trust, that cause us to sacrifice for another, that provide the web work of a truly great nation.
In my work with a local congregation I am deeply concerned about the need to build connections between people who occupy the church house on Sunday. It is not enough to come together just to sing some songs and hear a sermon. A church that is creating strong, healthy Christian disciples is a place that encourages relationships.
But that is becoming more and more challenging in a society that celebrates radical independence, where we spend most evenings in our homes watching TV instead of engaged in some activity or service involving other people. Even teenagers, who usually do things in groups, are increasingly relating to each other virtually using the Internet and online places such as Facebook.
"Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him 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" (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12, NIV).
Satan works hard to divide people. Conversely, God is love! Where God is truly invited, people are drawn together in close and self-sacrificing relationships.
— Jerry D. Scott is senior pastor at Faith Discovery Church (Assemblies of God) in Washington, N.J.
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