by Jim Putman
In 2003 the Commission on Children at Risk published a study called “Hardwired to Connect: The New Scientific Case for Authoritative Communities.” The commission, made up of doctors, research scientists, and youth service professionals, described “recent scientific findings suggesting that children are biologically ‘hardwired’ for enduring attachments to other people and for moral and spiritual meaning.” Lack of enduring attachments is associated with children’s depression, anxiety, attention deficit, conduct disorders, and thoughts of suicide.
God has hardwired all of us to connect, to create deep and lasting relationship. Science only discovers what God reveals in the Scriptures about His creation and its design.
Relationship is God’s idea. However, sin has marred every human relationship and has left each of us with scars of varying severity. Some of us are deeply wounded and reluctant to get close to anyone. Others have patterns they have learned that keep them from having what God designed them to have—deep relationship. We need to understand this about ourselves and accept God’s help to move past our broken behaviors and fears. If maturity is loving God and others well, then we need a complete understanding of the problem we humans face and what God has done to help us resolve it.
When the Lord created the world, at every turn He said it was good until the last day when He made man. Then He said it was not good. What wasn’t good—or complete—was that the man was alone.
The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” (Gen. 2:18)
However, the man wasn’t utterly alone; he had a perfect relationship with God. Yet in God’s eyes that wasn’t enough. God knew that He had created the man to be in relationship with other humans. Some might say the man needed a wife, but that isn’t quite it. The apostle Paul later wrote that it was better for some people to remain unmarried, as he was (1 Cor. 7:7–8), so not everyone needs a spouse. Not everyone needs children. However, from God’s perspective, everyone needs close relationships not only with Him but with other humans as well.
Many Christians have a me-and-Jesus mentality. They think all they need is Jesus, and they keep everyone else at arm’s length. But God says that’s not good. A relationship with Jesus is certainly essential for every person—we have a hole within us that only God can fill. However, God made us for more—relationships with other humans. Humans are designed to need relationships with physical and spiritual families.
God has set up our spiritual family, the Church, to fill that need for connection that he gave us. Our church family is meant to be who we go to for support, for help in times of trouble, for wise counsel. It is the place to get our needs met and for us to help meet the needs of others. Through good times or bad times, they are the ones God often works through to answer our needs and cares.
So we need to be intentional about staying connected with our church family. Connection doesn’t happen by accident – It takes work, especially in a year like the one our world has just gone through where there have been many things happening to isolate and separate us from others.
Remember, science says a lack of enduring connection is associated with depression, anxiety, attention deficit, conduct disorders, and thoughts of suicide. God said it first: “It is not good for man to be alone.”
So even if you are unable to attend your church in person and are attending virtually, reach out to someone, make that phone call or send that text.