Last week I listened to an NPR broadcast on This American Life titled Unconditional Love. http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives One of the stories dealt with an adopted son who struggled with Attachment Disorder. He grew up in an orphanage and never received the love, care, and attention he needed to develop emotionally, or morally. Children who have attachment disorders never develop a conscience so they are essentially sociopaths. The boy in this story was violent and destructive. He hated his parents and would reject any help or affection. The earlier treatment for AD (a couple decades ago) used to involve yelling degrading profanities at your child until they were completely emotionally beaten down. Then a family could hope to form a bond...Yikes! This therapy was so difficult to watch that many seasoned therapists could hardly stomach it.
Luckily, for this family a new, less harsh treatment was showing signs of success - proximity treatment. The child could not be further than three feet from his mother 24/7, for weeks (except for bathroom and sleeping). If the child refused the treatment, the proximity decreased. For Attachment Disorder children being around people is punishment, so instead of "time outs" they are given "time ins." The child also received treatments of prolonged eye contact and prolonged hugging and snuggling. The amazing thing is, it worked. The child explained it this way. (Paraphrased) "I just couldn't keep hating her. Because she was just right there next to me. If she told me I couldn't do something, I used to just shut myself in my room and hate her, but when she was right next to me, I had I had to stop hating her." When the boy graduated top in his Jewish confirmation class, he was awarded the honor of giving a speech at their synagogue. Listening in my car, I was almost moved to tears. I kept thinking this has such huge spiritual implications.
Recently I went to a harvest party to a church with my kids. It was fun. They got
Why is Spiritual Law #2 so important for so many Christians? Are we threatened by God's grace? Is this law necessary to complete the neat salvation formula we have created? It seems to me that the New Testament describes holiness as Attachment Therapy, as Proximity Therapy for a humanity that has not had the necessary bonding with our Heavenly Father. Isn't that why Jesus came to dwell among us, to put his life on the line? To heal our image of God and to somehow reconcile us to God. To reattach us to God. Maybe when we act out, blow it, mess up, God pursues us even more. God increases God's proximity. He hold us close. One of my favorite songs to lead is a song by Enter the Worship Circle.
"Hold me near, when I'm restless. Hold me near when I'm bitter. Hold me near, when I'm rebellious. Hold me near until the end."
38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39)