Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Changes That Heal: Bonding?

I took a little vacation from the blog; as you know we were in North Carolina visiting with our two daughters and two grandchildren, Levi and Stella.

At our last blog I talked about the last ingredient needed for growth---TIME. Before that I covered the two twins of growth ---GRACE and TRUTH.

Over the next few blogs we are going to cover aspects of the personality of God, personality that we need to cultivate into our own lives. Remember, we were created in the image of God, and therefore we should strive to inculcate that image in our daily living.

Today, we will start with the personality trait of bonding. You ask what is bonding? Well here is Dr. Clouds definition of bonding:

 "Bonding is the ability to establish an emotional attachment to another person. It's the ability to relate to another on the deepest level."

Dr. Cloud continues, " When two people have a bond with each other, they share their deepest thoughts, dreams. and feelings with each other with no fear that they will be rejected by the other person."

Think of the terrible isolation that humans experience because of the lack of bonding--- isolation between parents and children, husband and wife, and even in the body of Christ. Bonding is so foundational, it is such a basic human need, and at our deepest level we are relational beings. 

All human rights groups recognize isolation and solitary confinement as a cruel and unusual punishment. When I was doing social work and working with foster children, one trauma that was most commonly seen with children in the foster care system was reactive attachment disorder.

Pay attention this definition by the Mayo Clinic on Reactive Attachment Disorder:

Reactive attachment disorder is a rare but serious condition in which infants and young children don't establish healthy bonds with parents or caregivers.
A child with reactive attachment disorder is typically neglected, abused or orphaned. Reactive attachment disorder develops because the child's basic needs for comfort, affection and nurturing aren't met and loving, caring attachments with others are never established. This may permanently change the child's growing brain, hurting the ability to establish future relationships. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/reactive-attachment-disorder/DS00988

Dr. Cloud remarks that,  "without a solid, bonded relationship, the human soul will become mired in psychological and emotional problems. The soul cannot prosper without being connected to others. No matter what characteristics we possess, or what accomplishments we amass, without solid emotional connectedness, without bonding to God and other humans, we will suffer sickness of the soul."

 The Biblical Basis

Throughout the Bible we see that God is a relational being, and that He also created us a relational beings. From the very beginning of the Bible we see that God did not exist alone---He has always existed in relationship. Take notice of Genesis 1:26, "Then God said, "Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us."

God eternally existed in relationship: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. God creates man so that we would live in connectedness and fellowship with Himself. We were created to love and enjoy fellowship with our creator.

Relationship Broken

Adam and Eve were created in perfect relationship with each other and with God. Both Adam and his wife had all their emotional needs satisfied, and there was no dysfunction in their relationship, or in their relationship with God.

But Adam and Eve got disconnected with God; through their disobedience they wanted to be independent of God and do things their own way---sound familiar?  From the point of their disobedience they become alienated from each other and from the source of all life---their Creator.

The rest of the Bible story is a story of reconciliation---the story of the Bible is as story of God's pursuit of man---God restoring that connectedness that was lost through the fall. What a wonderful story to be a part of---being brought back into a relationship with your creator.

Our next post covers the consequences of failing to bond. Let it noted, that we are still fallen, and we still live in a fallen world, so we still see the results on our own lives of failure to be connected at a deep level with others and with God.

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