Some two days ago, there was a fight in my house that resulted into a scream and a cry. The two boys in the house will one moment be enjoying play together and the next be on each other’s neck trying to sort a disagreement.
This time round, they had just gone to their bedroom to sleep and the younger one had bitten the older one, who reacted with a punch back. When I went to the room, I demanded they go to sleep immediately and sort the issue the following day.
Discussing the issue the following day, the conversation went something like this;
Me, “What happened?”
Son, “He bit me.”
Me, “why did he bite you?”
Son, “because I was on his bed.”
Me, “had he asked you to leave his bed?”
Me, “what did you do?”
Me, “So why did he bite you?”
Son, “because I was on his bed.”….
For sometime in our back and forth conversation, the boy did not see his part in causing the fight. Suffice it to say that the conversation continued with both of them interrogating the genesis of the scuffle and how it would have been sorted differently with less acrimony.
Thinking about this incidence was an addition to my meditation lately on the way we humans deal with our issues. There is what manifests as the issue, which I call symptoms and there is the cause of the manifestation, which I call the root.
Visiting a friend earlier this month, I found a physician in his house who was administering some physical therapy to a member of the family. He (the physician) was very passionate about his work and he got to explain the therapy under the field called reflexology.
The treatment does not involve any prescription of medicine and only deals with ensuring proper circulation of blood through some kind of massage on the feet. He went ahead to tell me that he can treat any ailment apart from those caused by accidents like fractures using reflexology.
He said that this is because the root of all body ailments is related with flow of blood in the different parts of the body as blood carries both nourishment and defense to those parts. I won’t belabor my point too much for my medic language is limited as you may have already realized, but he said with proof that most of the times, when we get sick, we treat the symptom and not the root.
In my friend’s case, the one being treated had been experiencing headaches and recurrent flu that had significantly gone down since the treatment commenced. Some of the health issues we experience could be dealt with by a basic adjustment of lifestyle.
“11 The poor you will always have with you,[a] but you will not always have me.”(Matt 26)
In my attempt to understand the issue of material lack which is perennial in the continent I call home, I was introduced to a very sobering book, “When helping hurts”.
The book highlights the possible reasons that even though there is a lot of resources from the rich to the poor, the problem seems not to end, but instead in some instances ends up hurting both the giver and the receiver.
One core reason highlighted that I resonated with was that in almost all cases, lack of material resources is not the problem, but rather a manifestation of a root issue.
The root of the problem is identified as broken relationships for both the receiver and the giver, where relationships are defined at four levels, 1. Relationship with God, 2. Relationship with self, 3. Relationship with others, 4. Relationship with the rest of creation.
It made sense thinking that God has given us the ministry of reconciliation, restoring relationships through which God’s purposes are accomplished.”….as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.” (2Cor 5:20)
The root of all problems
Afterward, Jesus found him in the temple and said to him, “See, you are well! Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.” (John 5:14)
“And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth.2 And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?3 Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.” (John 9)
For the longest time I can remember, I have wondered why Jesus more than once told a person he had ministered to, to stop sinning on one part, while on another would answer to the negative to the question of whether some ailment was as a result of sin. These two may seem contradictory, but I do think that the root of all human suffering is unrighteousness (read sin).
12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:…14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.15 But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.(Rom 5)
In that one man, Christ Jesus, we have the root of all our ailments sorted. He is the All in all.