Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken. (NLT)
The first thing God called ‘not good’ in his creation was human aloneness. Human beings were never meant to live a solitary existence. Our text speaks of people in trouble needing others’ help. But it also speaks of keeping one another warm. We don’t just need each other in the bad times: we need each other to fulfil our true human destiny.
This doesn’t mean we have to be married. While marriage should, hopefully, be an illustration of this truth, it is not the only or even main illustration. We need each other as fellow human beings not as marriage partners or potential partners.
It is not the single person who denies the truth of this passage. It is the isolated hermit who wants nothing to do with others. It is also the self-absorbed narcissist who thinks only of himself or herself.
The fact we need each other doesn’t mean we can never be alone. If we can’t face our own solitary company, we may be driven to frantically seek the company of others with unfortunate consequences. It is just that this aloneness is not to be the final reality. We need to both embrace solitude yet fight against loneliness.
In the end, it may well be that we are defined by our relationships: they tell us much about who we are. The relationships we dare to make and care to keep.