People Tell Me I Can’t Follow Christ and Be a Loner: Do I Really Need Friends?
I prefer being alone, but I’ve had people at church tell me I can’t really follow Christ and be a loner. Do I really need friends?
Emotionally healthy people are comfortable spending time alone. They don’t need constant companionship. Bottom line, they enjoy their own company. Granted, some need more time alone than others, but folks that are in good psychological shape regularly escape from the crowds and noise to be alone (Matthew 14:23).
Solitude is valuable, but so is connection with others. After all that God had created and called good, there was one thing He said was not good: that man was alone. Animal and plant life simply weren’t enough to sustain Adam’s need for relationship. So He created Eve for Adam (Genesis 2:18).
We also know that the apostle Paul had many friends (Romans 16:5, 9, 12; Colossians 4:14; Philemon 1:1). He loved them deeply and felt rejuvenated by his friendships (1 Corinthians 10:14; 2 Corinthians 7:1; 12:19; Philippians 2:12; 4:1). It’s clear that friendship can be good for the soul (Proverbs 27:9; Ecclesiastes 4:10).
The number of friends we have or the amount of time we spend alone are unique for each of us. We weren’t all created with the same cravings. Like Paul, some prefer lots of friends while others are content with very few, if any, close relationships. Instead of forcing everyone to fit into a specific “community” of believers, we can embrace this diversity as a part of God’s perfect plan for His body (1 Corinthians 12:13-27). We each bring necessary and significant gifts to the body of Christ.
The key is finding the balance between friendship and solitude. Either without the other may mean that a person is running from problems, personal growth, and insight.