From the Christian perspective, God is perfectly whole — or Holy. We are created in His image and therefore created to be whole. When “sin” (That which is against God’s character) entered the world, so did our brokenness, along with our broken ideas about how we view ourselves, God and others. There is an intuitive knowledge of our personal brokenness that we are constantly attempting to fix, deny or protect. We know it should not be like this.
For the Christian, at the core, what we need is not more. At the core what we need, we already have - Jesus. Yet we strain and strive, looking for something to fill us. The destructive power of our sin is that it creates a distortion of our spiritual vision, causing us to stumble and grope through life leaving a trail of brokenness behind.
- Sin perverts our perception of God:
- God is angry with me - “He hates my sin, he must hate me.”
- God is disgusted with me - "I’m too dirty and damaged for Him to accept me”
- God is distant from me - “Why would he want to be with me when I’m like this?”
- God is unfair - “This is just one big setup...I couldn’t stop if I tried.”
- God is unhappy - “All the fun things are off limits!”
- Sin warps our self-perception:
- We become foolishly great in our own eyes when we hide from the reality of our sin, like the emperor with no clothes.
- We become worth - less in our own eyes when we become hyper-focused on our sin.
- Sin degrades or elevates (to unhealthy levels) our perception of others:
- We tend to do the same thing with other people that we do with ourselves - We make them out to be greater or less than we are. We serve them like gods or treat them like dogs.
Our sin is against God - yes, but who does it really damage? Sin brings disintegration of self while righteousness (living congruently with the character of God) brings integration of self or spiritual wholeness. This is one reason God hates sin so much - He doesn’t want our disintegration because He loves us! It must be said that any and all “righteous living” apart from God doesn’t get us to wholeness, it gets us to self-righteousness - a horrible dis-ease that many Christians live with, and perpetrate on others.
Complete Spiritual Wholeness
Spiritual wholeness is not dependant on our actions, but on an acceptance of God’s acting on our part in the life/death/resurrection of Christ. Because of our faith in Christ and what He’s done on our behalf, God is able to pronounce us whole and, remain a just God even though we often go on acting broken. We accept His declaration by faith and therefore try to live in accordance with our identity as one who is “spiritually whole” (failing along the way). Thankfully our failure in no way disqualifies His permanent declaration of wholeness over us. This is because spiritual wholeness is given to us based on the merit of Christ and not on our own merit.
For the Christian, it is vital to fully receive our identity as spiritually whole and accepted in Christ. If we do not, our connection with God is not severed, but our perception of connection with Him will be, which becomes the real problem. We were not created for obedience to God - He already accomplished obedience for us. We were created for loving connection and relationship with Him. Obedience is helpful because it increases our awareness of His love for us, and makes us more like Him. ”Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” Matt 5:8
If you and I were somehow able to fully and permanently experience the fullness of God’s love we would never want for anything again. We currently possess this love and acceptance, we just have a hard time experiencing it. One day we will know what it is like to fully experience it. For now, we can bask in the delight of Christ knowing that He has pronounced us whole!
- Josh Grover MA, LMHC