Splen­did iso­la­tion

Siloam Springs Herald Leader - - NEWS - Ron Wood Colum­nist

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.

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