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Research studies show that people who live with a wide array of social ties are less likely to catch colds. Another study showed that infection among people who are in contact with many different kinds of people was 50% less than those who lived in isolation. Even those with heart disease were six times more likely to die within six months than those who had many friends and relatives. Concern for our total wellbeing is one reason God tells us to live in community with one another. The Bible gives us guidelines on how to do it well. The Apostle Paul writes in Romans 12, “Just as our bodies have many parts, and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other.” He goes on to say, “Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them.” Of course, circumstances, age, and physical conditions sometimes prevent us from being with God’s people. But the principle stands. We are better off when we live in community, and function in the way God designed us.

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