I believe in evolution. That is, people evolve. A person can transform into something better. The man I was when I became married was, “You don’t need anybody.” That was true then. After 48 years of marriage, I’m a man who needs wife, family, friends. I’m not weaker for it but better. I was not a whole man until my wife completed me. I have evolved.
I believe in evolution in the scientific sense. If you selectively breed corn you can get kernels that pop perfectly. Breed the right kind of string beans and get more yield per acre. Champion race horses are worth a fortune because they breed faster colts. Scientific American Magazine reported on a Russian experiment that bred foxes. After six generations, foxes acted like dogs and enjoyed the company of humans.
Humans have a relationship gene. The ability to be in a relationship is bred into us from creation by God. He walked and talked with Adam. We’re meant for this.
The God of the Bible— Father, Son, Spirit—is a Trinity, a community. The book and movie, “The Shack,” by William Paul Young, illustrates this beautifully. Being able to have enduring fellowship is a mark of evolving maturity. Get whole and be loved. Saved people make a covenant.
When I was younger, I stumbled across Melodie Beatty’s “Codependent No More.” She wrote this book to describe how one person’s sickness due to alcoholism warps everyone around. Normal members of the family act as enablers to conceal the train wreck of the sick one. They cover up, make allowances, deny reality, until the whole family is dysfunctional. Social scientists write about ACOA – Adult Children of Alcoholics. They have trouble forming healthy relationships until they see the truth and become healed in their soul. To be holy is be wholly or completely well, able to relate in a wholesome way.
Have you heard the expression, “You know a person by their friends?” It’s true. Who you hang with reflects who you are you. If you are comfortable with people who tell sordid tales or drink themselves into oblivion, that’s a clue that you are also sick. If you associate with people who complain all the time, who reek of despair like stale sweat, it indicates who you are inside. You can be a dry alcoholic even if you abstain.
Some people use religion like others use alcohol. Religion is not a drug or a crutch - it’s a relationship with God. God wants to heal you so that you aren’t wearing religious rules like a person with a cast on a broken leg.
Somebody once told me, “You don’t sound like a Baptist.” My answer is, “Jesus was not a Baptist or a ___, and He’s my example.”
The good news about God is that we are not alone in the universe. Stop living like it’s just you and Jesus; or just you and your Bible; or just you in a big empty church. Get real. Love won’t - can’t - settle for loneliness.
Splendid isolation is a torture chamber, a prison cell, a death sentence. You were created to know God, be known by God, and be known people. Dare to do it.
— Ron Wood is a writer and minister. Contact him at wood.stone.ron@gmail. com or visit www.touchedbygrace.org. The opinions expressed are those of the author.