The tragic reality is our society offers more ways to connect, strengthen relationships, form new friendships, and increase our social circle than ever before – but our teenagers are lonely. Actually, let’s admit it: we are all lonely and social media usage increases feelings of loneliness, isolation, anxiety and depression. The challenge we face as Christians is how to help others see they are never alone if they have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
“For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor present things, nor future things, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38)
God promises us that we are never away from the love of Jesus Christ and nothing will ever cause us to be taken away from that love. That love comes with presence. That presence comes in the form of the sacraments and the Eucharist. That presence comes in the form of reading God’s Word, praying, reading about the saints, studying what the Bible says about situations we face and about the character of God.
“Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you and behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)
Jesus gives his disciples a couple of commands before he ascends to heaven and then he gives them a promise. He tells them to go and make other disciples, baptize, and teach. If they did that, he promised to be with them always. They would never be alone. They would never be isolated.
Do we think that making disciples is for priests and bishops only? Absolutely not.
“Give thanks to the Lord, invoke his name; make known among the peoples his deeds.” (Psalm 105:1) Scripture is clear, we are to share what God has done in our lives, for the world, and throughout the lives of those we know with everyone we can.
If you had a bottle that contained the cure for cancer, would you share it with everyone you knew who had cancer? Of course you would. Sin is a problem and it needs a cure. Jesus Christ is the cure. A personal relationship with Jesus is the cure for our sin problem and you have the ability to share it with those who are suffering. Will you open the bottle?
When we know Jesus Christ loves us and is always with us, then we can begin to see the value of our life. When our teenagers particularly see how special they are and how God has uniquely put His image into every one of them, according to Genesis 1:26, then they begin to see they do not need 20,000 Twitter followers or 100 more Snapchat friends. When our teenagers read in scripture that God is the “father of the fatherless, defender of widows”, they begin to see God is the God of those who are lonely.
“Father of the fatherless, defender of the widows, this is the God whose abode is holy. Who gives a home to the forsaken, who leads prisoners out of prosperity while rebels live in the desert.” (Psalm 68:6-7)
Our teenagers are lonely, not because they do not have 20,000 Twitter followers but because they do not have the one intimate and personal relationship that can offset 100,000 Twitter followers.