I was musing this morning on the Italian church in Venice, pastored by missionary Frank King. (We hope to worship with them this spring if the Italy trip works out for our 11/12th graders.) The believers’ love for one another was so evident. Part of it was cultural — all Italians greet one another by kissing on the cheek. But the supernatural “unity” of the Spirit was beautiful in that place.
When we moved to Anderson 3 years ago, I jumped everytime a guy touched me on the arm. Heh. Ten years of “touch not!” had done its work to mold me into a “hands-off” relationship with people. I’m sure my reflexes amused men like Mike Settle and Don Hall, who literally embraced me in my role as mentor and teacher of their children. With much practice, I’ve gotten much better at receiving brotherly love.
I know men who refuse to hug any woman not related to them. This is especially true of ministers in the circles I grew up in. It comes from a well-intentioned desire to remain “blameless” from any possible charge of infidelity or temptation toward adultery.
But like the former alcoholic who cannot taste a drop lest he fall back into drunkenness, the “sin” still rules. The alcohol controls where that man goes, what he eats, who he can spend time with. He’s not living in victory over sin; he’s a paroled prisoner. Perhaps a refusal to extend the most basic of human communication–friendly affection–out of a fear of being tempted is an equal bondage.
And I’ve decided that’s a pretty sad way to live.
Hugs to you all. Don’t flinch next time I greet you.