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Christian Living

Spiritual Life

Ten Ways to Narrow the Social Distancing Gap

Sue clutched a balled-up tissue and stared out of the window at the empty visitors parking lot. A tear slipped down her cheek. 

No visitors allowed for … how long did they say? Did they mean family? I can’t remember. Carolyn said she’d be back soon. I’m almost out of cough drops. I wonder if she’s okay. Will Karen bring my jellybeans and bananas and a new magazine? I’ve already read this one. 

How many elderly people confined in facilities or in their homes experience loneliness, fear, and isolation while the country practices social distancing? Do they understand the current guidelines, or are they confused about why no one is coming? 

Others, not so elderly, stay confined due to health concerns or fear of being in public. Hearts ache for human interaction.

What can we do when visits are prohibited or limited? What responsibility and privilege do Christians have in this pandemic dilemma? Consider these verses:

“And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’” Matthew 25:40 NKJV

“And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as He gave us commandment.” 1 John 3:23 NKJV

As you read the ideas below, ask God to guide you about ways to love and serve the lonely in His name. 

Ten Ways to Narrow the Social Distancing Gap with Love

1.    Plan a short telephone Bible study. 

Select a short Bible passage for each weekly call. Share some positive news, talk about the Bible passage, and offer to pray for specific needs. Hearing the voice of a loved one or friend adds cheer to the day, and God’s Word encourages us and helps replace anxiety with peace.

2.    Assist with shopping. 

Ask an elderly person about shopping needs before you go to a store or order online. Add a card or treat to their bag to brighten their day.  

3.    Plan an outdoor visit.  

Make a telephone call from outside of the window at a care facility. (Obtain permission first.) Or plan a simple picnic and sit on opposite sides of a deck or porch. Seeing a loved one or friend can soothe a troubled heart. 

4.    Write a letter.

For those who do not have electronic communication, mail a card or note with encouraging Bible verses. 

5.    Send artwork.

Mail children’s artwork, scribbles, or letters. Tuck pictures of the children in the envelope. 

6.    Mail or deliver a cheer-up package.

You might include a small tube of hand cream, family photos, a magazine, a large print devotional book, or candy and cookie treats, diet permitting. 

7.    Send flowers. 

Have flowers delivered or drop off a bouquet from your yard. 

8.    Ship a music CD. 

If the person has access to a CD player, mail or ship a CD of hymns.

9.    Share Bible verses. 

Design simple cards with Bible verses that offer comfort and the joy of the Lord. You could punch holes in them and add a ring or twist tie to hold them together. This is a perfect time to remind Christians of the Lord’s presence, as well as an opportune time to share His love with those who do not yet know Him as Savior. 

10.    Illustrate and frame a verse.

If you are not artistic, choose a picture from a free image website. Print a verse on the picture and place it in a frame without glass. Drop it into a padded envelope for mailing. 

Try the ideas in the list above or create your own. You may see frowns turn to smiles or hear a despairing tone of voice change to a joyful one. How can you minister the love of Jesus to a lonely person this week? Creative ways to show love can narrow the gap of social distancing. 

Copyright © 3/17/2020 Jeannie Waters, used with permission.

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