As a single Christian, I’ve struggled to understand and apply when God says in Genesis “…It is not good that the man should be alone…”. President Kevin J Worthen, of Brigham Young University, said in a recently devotional address:
“It is that no one can flourish in isolation and that the quality of our relationships with others will ultimately determine our level of fulfillment and happiness in both this mortal existence and the life to come. It is in this sense that it is not good for man—or woman—to be alone.” (It is Not Good That…Man Should Be Alone, BYU Devotional, Jan 5, 2016)
President Worthen then gave 4 suggestions on how to increase the number and quality of eternal relationships. I share them with my own personal experiences:
1 - Take opportunities to develop positive relationships with others
I have religiously been going to the same gym 6-days a week for over 2 years. And it makes me happy. I’ve come to know the 5 a.m. regulars like family because I make a daily effort to learn their names and stories. Shortly after learning someone’s name, I enter it and something that will help me remember them into my phone. And as I learn more about them in future conversations, I add that as well. Just this morning, I counted over 50 individuals at the gym whose friendships I enjoy on a regular basis because I make the effort to say their names and learn their stories.
2 – Expand our vision of who people really are
Many of us can relate to the “I see my neighbor over there. Do they see me? Should I say hi or pretend like I don’t see them? I’ll do the latter and keep my head down.” Right? I have a neighbor who is Hawaiian. And no matter what, if we are both outside, she’s yells from across the street in her happy Hawaiian voice, “Hello neighbor!” How can I pretend I didn’t hear that? But why would I want to? It actually puts a smile on my face. And I believe she loves people and sees them as their potential. C.S. Lewis said,
“It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you can talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship. . . . There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. . . . It is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit.” (C.S. Lewis, “The Weight of Glory”)
3 – Take joy in others’ successes
I spent the past few years working at a start-up company with the greatest people. Every day, I looked forward going to work because of the associations there. Everyone was invested in each other’s happiness and success at work. There was no ‘brown-nosing’, ‘back biting’, or ‘I’ll step on you to climb the corporate latter’. It was an environment of good people taking joy in other’s happiness and successes.
4 – First we must develop a positive and eternal relationship with God & Jesus Christ.
I have learned, in order to truly love another, we must first develop a relationship with God. We must learn why and how God loves us and why and how we need to love God. President Worthen quoted Elder Charles Didier:
“One of the real purposes of life is to become a friend of the Mediator, our Savior and Redeemer, . . . and then qualify to be called his friend.” (Charles Didier, “Friend or Foe,” Ensign, November 1983)
President Worthen closes his remarks with this:
“If we are more mindful of those relationships, if we do our best to reach out to others in ways that lift them, if we treat them as the potentially divine beings they are, and if their joys and sorrows become our joys and sorrows, then our lives will be more productive and more joyful. We will be filled with the love of Christ, and we will grow closer to Him, with the promise “that when he shall appear we shall be like him.”
There's nothing more to say than, 'Get 'er done.'
Link to President Kevin L Worthen's BYU Devotional Address: