Social Distancing, a little-known phrase before COVID 19, has suddenly become one of the most frequently used expressions. We are also able to recognise the latest developments of the pandemic by looking at the changes in the social distancing requirement.
Appropriate distancing and spacing do promote comfortable interaction between one another. The current social distancing requirements are put in place for physical health reasons; nevertheless, what I would like to share today is not on physical distancing, but on spiritual distancing.
Humans are social creatures. We adjust our distances with others, such as family members, friends, colleagues, or fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, according to the different levels of relationships. During the time when many families were house-bound because of the restrictions, I’ve learnt that challenges arose as many previously unresolved issues started to re-emerge. The more intimate the relationship is, the more challenges it imposes.
On the other hand, estranged relationships also pose a threat. It’s easy to fall into the trap of self-centredness when one got used to distancing themselves from others; not willing to open up themselves anymore, or to listen to others, and this may form one of the biggest modern crises – relationship crisis.
In fulfilling the mission bestowed by Father God, Jesus spent most of the time approaching and mingling with the crowd; however in other times, he maintained his distance from the crowd by retreating to the wilderness (Luke 5:16). Jesus needed space for himself, or rather should I say, an intimate time between God and Himself, something that we should all imitate. Although we may never be able to achieve the same level of intimate relationship with God, this is something we should all pursue, because this is the very foundation of a healthy relationship with people around us. Have you been in a state of self-isolation in the past? Or been maintaining a certain kind of connection with others? And how about relationships with others on the spiritual level?
We maintain social distancing for the sake of our health; however a more important aspect we should contemplate is the spiritual distancing and boundary between one another, as this is going to influence our personal and interpersonal health. Nonetheless, maintaining a good balance between intimacy and distancing is never an easy task. In healthy relationships, we should not only protect ourselves, but also consider other’s feelings. Opening up oneself to others may be risky, but also a self-sacrificing act, and commitment to others – a very challenging lesson for all of us, which, yet, is conducive to our life growth. I hope that we may not only build up awareness on this very issue, but also pray for a wise heart in order to learn this life-long lesson.