Are You at Peace with Yourself?
Alienation. We all feel it one way or the other. That horrible feeling, that sad reality, is the result of the Fall. When Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit, all kinds of alienation came into being.
First, they became alienated from God. So, they hid themselves from Him, in whom they had the greatest delight. Is this your condition?
Adam and Eve became alienated from each other as well. When God brought Eve to Adam, a joyful love song burst out of his heart: “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man” (Genesis 2:23)! Love and harmony characterized their union. But after the Fall, Adam blamed the woman for his failure. Don’t you see the evidence of this everywhere? There is no shortage of personal, racial, and international conflicts in this world. We long for kindred spirits and soulmates but how hard it is to come by such people!
Also, they became alienated from their environment. “...cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you...” (Genesis 3:17-18). God intended man’s work to be delightful and fulfilling as His work of creation was—“God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good” (Genesis 1:31). But the Fall caused man to be alienated from his environment, and his labor became frustrating and hard, delightful and fulfilling. Even after a lifetime of long, hard work, we can have that sinking sense that our work was in vain.
But there is another form of alienation: our alienation from ourselves. Adam and Eve experienced this when they felt shame for the first time after eating the forbidden fruit. When you feel ashamed of yourself, isn’t this a painful form of self-alienation?
Even though we live with ourselves all the time, we don’t always feel at home within ourselves. We have that feeling of “I’m not what I’m supposed to be” or “I don’t like what I am” or “I’m not what other people think of me,” etc. Think also of our constant inner conflict between duty and desire. A sense of guilt and shame can lead to self-hatred. What about the confusion/lostness about our identity, purpose, and meaning? How lonely we are if we are alienated from ourselves! Isn’t this why we can feel all alone in a crowd of people or at home?
How can we overcome this terrible plight of self-alienation and other forms of alienation? The Bible tells us that we are made in God’s image. So, we cannot be one with our true selves apart from God. Think about how all kinds of alienation came about in the first place. It was when Adam and Eve rebelled against God and alienated themselves from Him. God created man and placed him in the world He made, which operates according to the laws He set up. Going against His design brings about all kinds of disorder and brokenness. Because God is a triune God (one God in three Persons in perfect harmony), any violation of His design results in discord and alienation. Unless we submit to His will, which is for peace and harmony according to His design, we cannot be free from the alienations we experience in the world, including our self-alienation.
The first step of submitting to God’s will is to accept the means He provided for our restoration—Jesus Christ. We cannot wholly submit to God’s will as we ought because of the corruption of our being. But what we cannot do, Jesus did for us. He lived a life of perfect obedience to God. There never was any inner conflict between His sense of duty and desire. He loved God with all His heart, soul, mind, and strength. And He loved us as Himself. Because there was no self-alienation in Him, He was full of joy and He wants us to have that joy (John 15:11). Be reconciled with your Maker and be at peace with yourself by believing in Jesus Christ!