You Need Other People – Make a Friend!

I had three separate conversations in the past week with a similar theme – I don’t need anyone else. Each was a Christian who classified him/herself as either too strong, afraid, or just made by God to be a loner. Each concluded they didn’t need anyone else to be complete. I’m calling this out as garbage!

“But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, everyone one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body.” [1 Corinthians 12:18-20 NIV]


None of us were made to exist as an island unto ourselves. First, this thinking is what repels many from accepting God. They see Him an uninterested, or overly judgmental or simply unnecessary. They’re better off without Him. It leads them down a road that is spiritually empty and eternally lonely. But, I’m perplexed how those who overcome these objections and accept the forgiving grace of God through Jesus Christ can still think they are complete in a solo existence. David W. Smith wrote, “This problem of friendlessness exists even in our churches. In church we sit together and sing together, and we greet one another cheerily as we leave at the end of the service. We do all these things, sometimes for years, without forming any real personal Christian relationships. The church, therefore, becomes a place where Christians live alone together.”[i] Doesn’t that sound depressing?

However, it’s not a circumstance just indicative of the church. People in all walks of society are pulling further away from others, becoming loners. Margaret K. Nelson, the A. Barton Hepburn professor of sociology at Middlebury College and author of Parenting Out of Control: Anxious Parents in Uncertain Times, wrote a recent article on “helicopter parenting”. Her research related to parents, particularly mothers, who spend so much time caring for their children they rob both the parent and child opportunity to grow in other relationships. She comments in this excerpt on the impact it has on adult friendships:

“And to friendship. The time married parents spend visiting with friends and relatives outside the nuclear family has declined dramatically: Married fathers spent almost 40 percent less time and married mothers spent almost a third less time socializing in 2000 than they did in 1965, according to Bianchi, Robinson and Milkie. I can’t help but think that the new intensity of daily life is part of the problem. Parents seem to have few opportunities to pursue friendships unless they are friendships that take little extra time (as with co-workers or other parents on the sideline of a child’s sporting event).

“Many of the helicopter mothers I’ve spoken to have told me, often with pride in their voices, that their daughters are their best friends. At first, I wondered why these women – some of them in their late 40s or 50s – wouldn’t prefer to spend their free time with people their own age.”[ii]

We’re pulling away from one another and dying a little bit on the inside because of it. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a result of bad things, but sometimes of good things which have crowded out better things. We’re allowing ourselves to live a life with no margin. The lack of free time prohibits us from pursuing the good things, the things we need – other people. Those relationships help me be a better parent, spouse, worker, and member of my community. How? They sharpen me as good friends challenge me to be the best I can be. The round me out when my focus is too self-centered by bringing other points of view into my limited mindset. They help me relax and enjoy time with others, which helps me be a bit more fun and relaxed at home. And, spiritually, they bring into my life the elements which I’m missing – the things God wants me to benefit from in His creation of others.

Pulling away relationally happens to people of all levels of spiritual maturity. It occurs in new believers who feel like an outsider in their new church. It happens among Bible college and seminary students (and professors) who feel they get enough Bible during the week at work/class and don’t need “church”. It happens with “old timers” who have been existing around the periphery of church community for years, maybe decades. It happens with men who don’t know how to connect on a deep relational level with other Christian men; and with women who are incredibly social, but never allowing someone close enough to see the hidden pain. I know pastors who avoid real relationships with other believers out of fear of judgment or because they cling to a public persona that hides their pain or sin. I see it in disconnected believers who think Christians would cramp their style (or maybe their sinful lifestyle), therefore, they choose to stick closely to their unsaved friends to avoid the hypocrites.

The truth is – if you’re not connected to others in the body of Christ, you’re not complete. Read the rest of the 12th chapter in 1 Corinthians. Or read Romans 12, Ephesians 4 or 1 Peter 4 – all include details that describe aspects of community in the body of Christ. This is why I didn’t want a groundbreaking Sunday that featured a few leaders up front with golden shovels. “Building the church” takes ALL of us! We can’t do it without one another! I think the picture of our church family surrounding the outlined perimeter of our new building (taken by the fireman from up above) is my favorite. I can’t really make out who the individual people are, but together they form something. What a great image of Christ’s Body! To paraphrase Barney the purple dinosaur – “I need you. You need me. We’re a happy family…” Now don’t make me come and give you a great big hug and kiss…get out make some friends. Get to know others. Build relationships. I promise you’ll discover part of what you’re missing in life. Even if you don’t realize you’re missing it.

Got some thoughts on this topic? Agree/disagree? Got a story that fits? Be sure to leave a comment and let me know what you’re thinking.

The Unexamined Life and All


[i] Smith, David W., Men Without Friends. (Thomas Nelson, 1990).

[ii] See full article at

Posted: August 20, 2010 
Filed under: Deep Thoughts with Pastor Jeff, Jeff, Leadership, Pastor Jeff, Pictures, Spiritual, Waterbrook Bible Fellowship
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