What is at the foundation of our searching?
All people search. We seek answers, we seek truth, we seek purpose and meaning. We seek other things as well.
What is at the root of all this searching?
What is the crux of the human condition? Is it sin, as we have been told? Well, look for yourself, in your own bible. Try to find one statement where God says the human condition is sin, and all of our problems can be traced back to that. Did Paul ever say it? Did Jesus? Why do we perpetuate an idea that has no foundation in the gospels or in the epistles, neither in the psalms or the prophets? Why, when we are asked, do we answer, “It’s because of sin”?
“I feel empty inside”, one man might say. The Christian answers, “It’s because of sin, because sin is the human condition.”
There is a great mention of sin in our own bibles. But I have been finding an even greater theme in my bible.
The theme I am pondering is separation and reunion. Wow! It’s all over the place.
When I leave for work in the morning, every morning, I kiss my daughter’s cheek as she sleeps. I feel separation. When I pick her up from school, I feel reunion. I know of no greater joy than that reunion with my daughter.
All this “pondering” has led me to wonder if the real human condition isn’t separation? When I talk with people who are hurting, the number one answer I hear is always, “I feel so lonely”. That response comes up more than any other. I do not hear them say, “I feel so sinful” or I feel so guilty.”
“I feel lonely”.
We hear our own thoughts inside of our minds, and yet we do not understand the thoughts of others, though those thoughts are often the same as ours. We hear the words “Love your neighbor as yourself” and try as we might, we just can’t do it. We can’t feel what they feel unless we make great effort, we can’t relate to their heart, even though we know very well what’s inside of it; it’s the same stuff that is in our hearts. We try to love, and often fail, and yet when others fail us, we cannot understand how they could have.
Logic would dictate that all things being equal, the commandment to love others as if they are us should be a slam dunk. After all, as different as we are, we are all very much alike. We have the same thoughts, we all share the same emotions. We all know what it feels like to be betrayed, or hurt, to be loved or to be sad. These emotions and experiences are not unique to each individual. We all share them. And yet to love everyone else as if he were me is not a slam dunk.
The fact is, my mind rarely makes the connection that my neighbor might be me. I am guessing that I am not unique in this.
I feel a separation from my neighbor. I feel one with myself; I do not feel one with him. I am aware of myself; I think about myself almost constantly. Again, I do not believe I am unique in this. And amidst all of this is the world screaming that we should embrace our individuality. Yet when tragedies occur, if we were embracing our individuality, the pleas for helps and mercies would fall on deaf ears. After all, what is the one suffering to me? I am individual from them, distinct in my own being. Separate. Complete.
But there is the lie. I am not complete without my neighbor. I am fooling myself if I think I am. I am separate from him, and incomplete. And I am finding, the more I search, that separation is a much larger problem than we have ever considered it to be.
It happens everywhere, even in churches. In the church, we are supposed to be the most accepting people in the world, yet often we separate people according to their “sins”, because “sin” is the human condition. But the message of Christ isn’t one of sin, but of acceptance, of reconciliation and reunion.
I may be wrong; I have been many times before. But I think the human condition is separation. We feel separated. That’s why we seek, that’s we try to find answers and truth and love. We look for meaning and purpose because on our own, we feel separated from everything around us. We feel individual, even separate from God, who supposedly lives within us.
The message of Christ is inclusion, acceptance, and love. I believe God created us to be together, with Him. I believe his death and resurrection showed this to be true, and ever since, we have been learning how not to be reunited with everyone and everything else.