In my many years of ministry, I have prided myself on maintaining an ‘open-door policy’. One of my many desires is that the people I serve and serve with would know that I sincerely love them, and, that they would view me as friendly, accessible and hospitable. Admittedly, this ‘yall come in’ down-home approach can come with its snags; but, overall, I’m glad it’s still a part of my ministerial DNA.
Many of the people who wander into my office unannounced are lonely. They are looking for someone who will smile at them, be willing to know their names and hear their stories, and somehow reaffirm that their presence on the planet still matters. Many live highly isolated lives, brought on by years of rejection, shame, addiction, mental illness, fear and rebellion. I have repeatedly witnessed that ultimately and predictably -isolation destroys.
Sometimes fundamentally forgotten is the fact that we were made in God’s image (Genesis 1:27); and that God in His divine essence is a communal Being - that community is an essential component in growing, thriving and attaining and maintaining a healthy sense of wellbeing. In other words, we need each other! Though autonomy continuously beckons to somehow satisfy, I need you and you need me.
For years I have preached that the devil isn’t really doing anything new. He’s just repackaging the old and proven in new enticing ways. Yet his hooks for our demise are baited specifically, his overall plan for each of us is isolation.
Because we are easier to destroy that way!
Jesus called the enemy of our souls a robber, a killer and a destroyer (John 10:10), who easily accomplishes those sinister objectives via isolation. In other words, you’re easier to destroy apart from the security and safety of the pack. Nature proves that a small grouping of lionesses don’t carelessly and recklessly go charging headlong into a herd of gazelles. Instead, they patiently hunker down in the tall grass and watch – intentionally identifying the young, the old, the weak, and the injured – easy pickins.
Friend, if you are drifting into destructive isolation, it’s time to rejoin the herd! See isolation for what it really is – the enemy’s attack plan against your potential and life.
If you know of someone drifting into destructive isolation, it’s time to do the loving thing, by bringing them back into healthy community. This will take love, persistence and courage in many cases; but it will save lives. Identify and love a stray today!
Certainly, isolation for the purpose of reflection, meditation, rest and prayer is good for a season; but, was never intended to be a lifestyle!
Remember, isolation destroys.