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  • Writer's pictureLaura Kae

Oneness: say whaaaat?

So I have been going through this process of forgiving and repenting, otherwise known as the twelve steps, for about three and a half years now. It has been a very interesting time, filled with a lot of tears. Forgiveness and repentance seem to inspire deep emotion. My life has gotten so much better as I have learned to truly connect with other people.

Taking ownership for my own sin is not easy, but I have learned it is necessary. Every time I have a conversation in which I must confront someone else for their sin in our relationship, God taps me on the shoulder beforehand, clears His throat, and says, “Ummm, aren’t you forgetting something?” I end up starting the conversation with my own confession.

I have learned whether or not I have these conversations has a lot to do with who I believe is my family. If I believe what the world says and cling to what looks like my family from a temporal point of view, then I could get out of most of these tough conversations. I could just walk away from these relationships to go find a new church, a new city with new neighbors, and new friends.

Or I can believe what Jesus says about my family. He says that anyone who believes in Him is my brother or sister. Those who do the will of my Father in heaven are my family. The bond of this spiritual tie is stronger, truer and more unbreakable than any earthly blood. Jesus’ blood breaks the bonds of human genealogy and creates a new family. It is the real bond between blood siblings. One whose connection is eternal.

If I believe what Jesus says, then I must go to my brother in repentance. Then I must ask my sister for forgiveness. I am obligated to look at myself in the mirror and face the deep emotions that come with realizing my many shortcomings. If I believe what Jesus says about family, then character change is indispensable.

A few weeks ago, I was reading 1 Corinthians 7 where Paul says the wife has authority over her husband’s body and the husband has authority over his wife’s body. Now I am not married, but I flipped out anyway. I am supposed to trust my husband with being responsible for my body? I would really like to keep full authority over all of me! I know I have been unkind to my body, but you should (or actually should not) hear about what other people have done to it!

I have been continuing my study of Romans. At least in my interaction with 1 Corinthians, I could hide behind not being married yet; but I was about to stumble over a verse for which I had no excuses.

For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function; so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.

Apparently, I belong to more than just my hypothetical future husband. The Apostle Paul seems to think I belong to all my brothers and sisters. We are integrally connected. I can’t survive without them, and they can’t survive without me.

It’s this idea of “belonging” that makes me uneasy. I like to think I can do what I want, when I want, how I want, where I want, why I want, and with whom I want. It’s the American way: don’t mess with my freedom, and I won’t mess with yours.

But it seems Jesus and the Apostle Paul think I should voluntarily give up my freedom. Instead of doing whatever I want, I should always put other’s needs before my own, which doesn’t sound very much like freedom to me. Recently one of my pastors defined freedom as the choice to do what is wrong but the power to do what is right. It is right to give up my independence for the good of His family.

(I have often wondered how one can always put other’s needs before their own without being a codependent, also known as a people pleaser. My understanding at this point in my life is that a people pleaser does not put other people’s needs before their own, but rather often puts other people’s sinful desires and appetites before God’s truth. Codependency believes providing someone with momentary emotional fulfillment is more loving than what God defines as love.)

I am incredibly grateful that His family is my family. No copping out. No running away. Only pressing into what builds unity, and forgiveness and repentance always bring unity.

If I want to follow Jesus, then I must continue “twelve-stepping” my way to heaven. When it is uncomfortable, I must ask for forgiveness for my sin. I must not make excuses for it. When one of my siblings wrongs me, I must extend forgiveness. It is my obligation because we are to be one in Him.

Who is your family? In other words, who does God call you to be unified with? Do you have any forgiving and repenting to do in your relationships?

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