Thursday, January 14, 2016

We Need to be In Relationship With Others

My wife and I once watched a movie about a young man who decided to move to Alaska and live all by himself in an old bus in the middle of nowhere. The movie portrayed a number of relationships that others tried to build with the young man but in each case he walked away from those relationships. He walked away because he had been hurt by a close relationship he had in his childhood. That made him afraid to allow other people inside his walls. The movie ended rather sadly. He made a mistake in reading a book on plant life and accidentally ate a poisonous plant. Regretfully, that led to his death a few days later. He died as he had lived, isolated and alone. The movie was based on a true story that was portrayed in a popular book written by the young man’s family after his body was found several weeks later by hunters.

As I have reflected on that movie it occurs to me that it is a picture of the lives of far too many people in our broken society. Many have been hurt in various relationships and that hurt has caused them to emotionally isolate themselves from those around them. They think they can make it all on their own without other people. This is flawed thinking. We need relationships with others. Even though we can be hurt by relationships, we really cannot live without them. Knowing this, God designed us to desire friends, look for a mate, enjoy family, and seek out a faith community. When we ignore those urges, we are less happy than we could be.

Had that young man in the movie had some other people with him, they might have noticed when he mistook a poisonous plant for an edible one. Or perhaps they would have been able to help him hike back to town and seek medical help. Even if he felt he really needed some time alone, had he been willing to share his life with others, they would have known where he was and could have come looking for him when he did not return. Unfortunately since he told no one where he had gone, no one could come rescue him. The story had a sad ending, but what made it even sadder was that it did not have to end that way. He did not have to die alone and isolated far from home in an abandoned school bus. But he was not willing to open himself up to other people and trust them. His determination to do break off all relationships with other people ultimately resulted in his untimely and tragic death.

We must do all that we can so that others do not follow the same depressing path with its sad ending. We must learn to trust again. We must encourage others to trust again. We be willing to open ourselves up to having deep and meaningful relationships. Even though we may have been hurt in the past, and there is a chance we may be hurt in the future, the reality is, we cannot live happy productive lives without relationships. Relationships are a risk, but we must realize that relationships are a risk worth taking.


Dr. Terry W. Dorsett has been a pastor, church planter, denominational leader and author in New England for more than 20 years. He is a happy husband, a proud father and adoring grandfather. He is a cancer survivor and believes that God works powerfully through times of suffering. He has written a book about the spirit of offense that prevails in our current society. You can find all of his books at:


  1. The gospel was written to the Community / Body of Believers as a group...and most of the exhortations have a WE intentionality. Indeed, We REALLY Do Need Each Other.

  2. To my fellow pastors, this is going to sound more like my old cop self, than my pastor self but this is the reality. You are going to be betrayed and hurt. Get over it, and get on with the kingdom work.

    1. I want to make a book recommendation for my fellow pastors. Although I am afraid it will be taken wrong. Yet it has been a great resource for me, and it has kept me from being overly discouraged in the ministry. This is not a joke as I served fifteen years in Corrections and Law-enforcement from officer through lieutenant. The book is called: The Games Criminals Play. I have used it for thirty years now in the ministry.

    2. thanks for the book idea, sounds very helpful.