“Let Him free us from ourselves in order that we may become the servants of others.”- Elisabeth Elliot, The Path of Loneliness
“I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”- John 15:11 (NIV)
In Chapter 13 (“The Assurance of Being Loved”) of Transforming Loneliness, Ruth Graham talks about the most powerful need inside the human heart. The longing to be loved.
Yet, Ms. Graham notes, for lonely people it might be doubly hard to sacrifice themselves. Because when you’re lonely, you feel needy. And, thus, you seek to have your needs met. Above all, honestly, fear and self-protection seem far more likely a response than joy.
But God’s ways are not our ways. For example, consider Debra Moerke’s response to Karen, in prison with a life sentence. Debra served as a foster mother to Karen’s four-year-old daughter Hannah. However, after family services returned Hannah to Karen – despite possible mistreatment during home visits , she murdered her.
Following her arrest, though, Karen asked Debra to visit her in prison. While Debra detested the request, she went. Simply out of obedience to Jesus. Most significantly, for the past twenty years Debra’s faithfully visited Karen. Debra also had the privilege of leading Karen to Christ. Even today, they remain sisters in the Lord.
Therefore, Ruth counsels:
“If you want to see your loneliness, your longing for love, be filled, there is no more powerful way than to reach out and love someone who is longing for it – whether you believe they deserve it or not.”
In conclusion, helping others lifts your spirits. Licensed therapist Richard Hamon adds:
“When we give of the heart we receive of the heart. The act of doing a good deed pushes out lonely feelings and opens the door to feeling more connected with others, and engenders a sense of belonging and attachment.”
Today’s question: What Bible verses help free us from ourselves? Please share.
Tomorrow’s blog: the annotated bibliography of Transforming Loneliness