God’s gift of inner wholeness

wholeness

Just a thought. This morning we were thinking about God uniting us as God’s people, with a unity which is deeper than our many differences of personality and experience, but which is enriched by those very differences. It also true that we have a vision of a future, whatever the fulfillment  will look like in practical terms where the whole of God’s creation is brought together as one through Christ.

If God can bring together in unity very different people, and bring together in one the whole cosmos, then God can bring integration to our individual inner selves. Jesus said that he had come to bring ‘wholeness’ – one of the meanings of the word ‘salvation.’ And yet, often, many of us are conscious not of the unity of our inner selves, but of inner conflict and confusion – chaos, in fact.

Sometimes this inner dislocation springs from conflicting desires – the desire to do what we know to be good is at variance with another powerful desire for a less worthy course of action.

Sometimes the inner dislocation springs from the fact that we are living compartmentalised lives – an extreme example would be the Nazi prison camp commandant who went home at night to be a tender father to his children, but we can fall into a similar compartmentalisation very easily. As a Christian bookseller, I was aware of competing spiritual and commercial motives. As a business person I may act from a different set of values when I’m at work from those I apply in my Christian life.  I may be a model of Christian commitment in my charity work while ignoring the needs of my partner and kids. Often we are blind to the incongruity of this compartmentalisation until someone points it out, or until God finds a way to get through to us.

Sometimes the inner dislocation is the result of deep wounds we have suffered in the past. We have buried the memories, and suffer the consequences of these memories while our recollections themselves lie just beyond our consciousness.

Sometimes the dislocation arises because of stuff about ourselves we don’t like, and can’t bear to acknowledge, and we fear to bring these dark things out into the open, let alone share them with others.

If we think that God can unite a church, but somehow not bring wholeness to our inner being, then we are practising compartmentalised thinking, and enclosing our deepest selves in a box from which we try to exclude God.  But the truth is – and when we see it, gradually or in an instant – the walls of the box dissolve before our eyes – that the God of unity brings wholeness wherever the divine breath reaches. Jesus can, and will make us whole.

We can bring to God our divided selves, and ask for strength to heed the voice that summons us to goodness; and ask for God to help us break down the walls between the compartments we operate in so that divine love permeates all our living; and pray and if necessary seek prayer from others and appropriate therapy to address hidden emotional wounds; and bring into the open sunlight of God’s acceptance the dark stuff in us.

Dark stuff will still remain, and desires will urge us in the wrong direction, but no longer will be afraid, and shrink from the remaining darkness. We will have the confidence in God’s love and light to come us we are, hiding nothing, needing to hide nothing, believing that God, knowing even the depths of our consciousness which we have not plumbed loves us and accepts us, and cherishes us. We are saved. We are being saved. We are whole. We are being made whole.

Sometimes we wonder why we don’t feel truly part of the united church, why we feel on the edge, excluded. Perhaps it’s because we are best able to grasp, and enter into the unity God gives to God’s people when we know that inner unity, that inner wholeness which God brings to our chaotic selves.

This week, may we know this wonderful gift of inner wholeness, or at very least the confidence that God is giving us this gift, and may we rejoice to be part of the worldwide family of God’s bairns, bonnie, broukit, but healed.

(John)

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