Home Again—Back from Self-Alienation
I recently had the privilege of kneeling beside a friend, now advanced in years, and praying with him as he returned to ‘Father’s house’. There’s something incredibly beautiful about such an experience. The Father’s welcome home—incredibly grand! The one who was lost moving into Father’s embrace. Experience this dynamic—it’s incredibly moving!
I never cease to marvel at the wholeness that comes over the spirit of the penitent who has returned. Life in special ways takes a new level of vigor and health as it is reshaped upon entering the Kingdom. Upon that entry, the fragments of the broken inner being begin to come together; health, spiritual health, is born! Brokenness finds far more than its match—finds “the Answer”!
My friend was overwhelmed with the weight and the spiritual sickness brought him by his sin. He was clearly alienated from the man he wanted to be. There was a separation in his inner psyche and awareness between who he knew himself to be in the present and the one he knew God wanted him to be. He was a stranger to the grace-transformed man he knew that Christ could make him. He shared through his tears that he had experienced God’s transforming grace before; he knew the peace and joy that it brings. He had allowed his focus to go to a number of wrongs committed against him and his wife; his anger had been directed toward those that needed to be brought to justice; to justice he would like to bring them by his own doings.
Sin—what a life-breaker! It fragments.
In an incredible way, it even “self-alienates”. Sin brings what the Scriptures refer to as “double-mindedness” (see Ps 119:113; Jas 1:7, 4:8). With sin comes guilt. “Because of sin, people are not at home within themselves.” Nor are they at home in the presence of the Master (consider Adam, Gen 3; Peter in the presence of Christ, Luke 5:8). The “internal alienation” is experienced in myriads of people who find a civil war within. As expressed poignantly by the Apostle Paul, “For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate . . . I can will what is right, but I cannot do it.” (see Rom. 7:15-24). Such self-alienation brings an impotence to fulfil the spiritually whole life designed by the Creator for our human family.
Beyond fragmentation within one’s own person, sin fragments relationships with others, often including spouses and other family members. Systemic societal fragmentation and brokenness in our human relations with nature—all of these broken relationships are consequences of the “moral disease that entered human history because of the loss of life-giving communion with God.”
I love this story.
When Jesus came down from the mountainside, large crowds followed him. A man with leprosy came and knelt before him and said, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.”
Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man, “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” Immediately he was cleansed of his leprosy (Matt. 8:1-3, NIV).
Ponder this physically broken one. Flesh distorted, out of shape as the disease slowly consumed him. An outcast. No normal life. Who wanted to associate with the lepers? He was out there, outside of the engagements, the labors, and the privileges of everyday society. The longing. Oh, that there was a cure! What would wholeness feel like, once again? !
He heard of this One, Jesus, who was moving about doing good. And, many who were touched by Him were healed. What if, just what if . . . ? ! From his perspective, what if I could be healthy and normal again? What if I could be the person I was designed by the Creator to be? What if I could be part of the community again—accepted, loved, cared for? What if I could contribute in a meaningful way to my community, my society, my country? Imagine—what a feeling awakened within this sufferer!
Jesus saw his brokenness and his sincere belief in Him. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” Immediately he was cleansed of his leprosy.
Savior! Jesus is the One who takes the helplessly and hopelessly broken. And when He finds authentic faith out of that brokenness, He makes whole!
Praises to Him who has the power to transform from sin’s crushing fragmentation out to an incomparable wholeness!
Find this post meaningful? I’d love for you to PIN IT!
 Snyder and Scandrett, Salvation Means Creation Healed, 73. For an excellent treatment of “Alienation from Ourselves: Internal Division” see Kindle edition, 73-76 of 226.
 Ibid., 66.