Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Foundations to Growth

Foundations to Growth: Changes that Heal

What, why and when of bonding

What is bonding?

Bonding is one of the most
basic and foundational ideas in life and the universe. Bonding or attachment is
our deepest and most primary spiritual and emotional need. God is relational
and He created us in His image so we were created to be relational. From the
womb, we need connection with God and others for comfort, safety, nurturing,
meaning and a general sense of belonging. The message of the Bible is
restoration and reconciliation. Loving God and others restores us back to
relationship. This is what bonding is all about.

Moral benefits from bonding and attachment

Bonding is a basis for
morality. The Bible talks of morality based on love, not on rules or principles.
A mother doesn’t hold her child because she “ought” to. She loves him and holds
the child because she feels his discomfort. A friend doesn’t visit her sick
neighbor because she “should”, rather because she cares for her neighbor’s well
being. Only compassion drives us to real sacrificial love.

In the movie “As Good as it
gets” starring Jack Nicholson, he tells his girl friend played by Helen Hunt,
“You make me want to be a better man”.
Since we often times do what is wrong, rules rarely keep us in line.
Bonding, attachments and love does a much better job of keeping us moral. When
we think of how we might hurt the one we love, more often we will follow some
code of conduct. The difference then is
we don’t to do something wrong to someone because it’s wrong; we don’t
do something wrong to someone, because we hurt him or her. The
motivation to do right is love, not obligation.

Health benefits from bonding

A person’s ability to love
and connect with others lays the foundation for mental and physical health. One
can adjust or recover more rapidly from several physical illnesses including
stress, cancer, heart attack, and stroke. Even having a pet to love and bond
with slows our heart rate. Good friends and the body of Christ provide us with
a support system in our time of need. “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this
way you will fulfill the law of Christ”
(Galatians 6:2).

Life has more meaning and purpose when we bond

When we are in a loving and
a bonded relationship, we are able to see meaning in serving others and in our
accomplishments. We are able to accomplish more on our own, when our “emotional
tanks” are full. When we are bonded to God and others our accomplishments have
a deeper meaning. Events and work have purpose instead of obligation or a
function. Instead of “task-oriented” work and service becomes “relationally
oriented”. Life becomes exciting
because bonding increases the opportunity to exercise your God given talents
and abilities which provides help and resources to others in need or of need.

There is only one God so who can God relate to?

God is not alone. He exists
and always has in relationship as three persons in one or referred to as the
Trinity. He is God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. This three
in one relationship is hinted to in Genesis 1:26 Then God said, “Let us
make man in our image, and in our likeness”. Jesus suggests the quality and timelessness
of the relationship when He says to His Father “you loved me before the
creation of the world” (John 14:24). Before creation, God was in a bonded and
attached relationship with His son and the Holy Spirit.

The basic identity of God is love

Relationship and bonding is
the foundation of God’s nature. The apostle John wrote, “God is love. Whoever
lives in love lives in God, and God in Him” (1 John 4:16). Love is the basic
identity of God; therefore love is basic to our identity also.

A plant needs water and
sunlight to survive. Just like a plant, we grow and thrive and need to be
“rooted and grounded” in love. We literally draw from the love of God and
others to fuel our transformation and fruit bearing.

The importance of bonding

When we are in a loving and
a bonded relationship, we are alive and growing. Our emotional and mental
well-being depends on the condition of our heart. The heart is the seat of all
our dreams, desires, goals and hope. We are told to guard our heart “for it is
the wellspring of life” (Proverbs 4:23). The condition and health of our heart
depends on our ability to bond with God and others. The Bible says “A happy
heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit” (Proverbs

What happens when the bonding process is interrupted?

Often times in life, we can
be injured at these early developmental stages including infancy, childhood,
and even early adulthood. When this occurs, we have great difficulty trusting,
being intimate, and depending on others. When we were robbed or lost our
ability to bond, we suffer from several root causes; abandonment, rejection,
loneliness and fear that will separate us from the love of God and others. When we are alone or isolated, our lives are
darkened, become chaotic and our growth is stunted.

Our need takes us back to Jesus

Because of our hurts, loss
and pain, we develop walls around us to prevent others from ever hurting us
again, or so we think. Our pride blinds us to the truth and reality that sets
us free. We rebel and try doing things our way until we hit bottom and turn to
God who is the source of relationship and bonding, and the author of love. Our
needs are the fuel to growth and healing. Relationship to God and others helps
us to meet our needs. Without such connectedness to God and others, we will
slowly wither and die, just as a branch is cut off from its vine. Jesus said, “Remain
in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must
remain in the vine (John 15:44).

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