Personal Online Journal

Friday, July 20, 2018

Coming to Ourselves: The First Timid Step

I have been listening and reading "Bonds That Make Us Free Healing Our Relationships, Coming to Ourselves". This morning I was thinking about how I might introduce the book to my children.

I first read an early form of this book before it was published. I attended a class from the Arbinger Institute around 1997. The concepts in the book were a paradigm shift for me. I recognized how many of my problems were of my own making. After over 20 years, I have not put into practice many of the principles in this book. I hope to instill in my children the principles and practices that this book teaches and causes to inspire.

I hope to further nurture a climate of change and accountability and growth in my family and friends. Part of this is selfish. I know that I have a better chance of changing, being accountable and growing when I ask it of those nearest to me.

The last part of the sub-title stood out to me, "coming to ourselves". It reminds me of the parable of the prodigal son.
17 And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!
18 I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee,
19 And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.
(Luke 15:17-19)
What does it mean to come to myself?

Coming to myself is one of the first steps of repentance. We become aware of what we have created. We resolve to go, confess and accept the consequences. In the story of the prodigal son, he did not think it possible that he could be restored in his relationship with his father. His father showed him immediately that he urgently longed for a restoration. He ran and fell on his son's neck.

Matthew R. Linford describes how the father in this story risks the shame from the community. He loves his child. God rejoices in our turning to him. He runs to us and embraces us regardless what others might think of him.
As Bailey notes, in Middle Eastern culture, a man of the father’s stature would always walk in a slow, deliberate way. He would never run, let alone race. In addition, for a man in robes to run, and especially for him to race, he would need to gather his robes in his arms and expose his legs. Both running and exposing his body would cause him tremendous shame in his community — these would be unthinkable acts. Thus, no doubt to his utter amazement, the prodigal son sees his father take at least some of his shame upon him, racing partly naked through the village. This act would draw at least some of the attention and scorn of the community from the returning child to the benevolent father.
("The Parable of the Benevolent Father and Son", Matthew R. Linford, Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture 22 (2016): 149-178, Quoted on
While he was a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, President Gordon B. Hinckley said that a joyous return is possible for any “who have taken your spiritual inheritance and left.” 
“Note the words of the parable of the prodigal son: ‘And when he came to himself.’ Have you not also reflected on your condition and circumstances, and longed to return? 
“The boy in the parable wanted only to be a servant in his father’s house, but his father, seeing him afar off, ran to meet him and kissed him, put a robe on his back, a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet, and had a feast prepared for him. 
“So it will be with you. If you will take the first timid step to return, you will find open arms to greet you and warm friends to make you welcome.
("Viewpoint: Repent and Return to Christ" quotes "Everything to Gain—Nothing to Lose", Gordon B. Hinckley, General Conference Oct 1976. Emphasis added.)

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