The spirit of the Lord God is upon me…he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and release to the prisoners. —Isaiah 61:1
The Spirit always connects, reconciles, forgives, heals and makes two into one. It moves beyond human-made boundaries to utterly realign and renew that which is separated and alienated. The “diabolical” (from two Greek words, dia balein, that mean “to throw apart”), by contrast, always divides and separates that which could be united and at peace. Just as the Spirit always makes one out of two, so the evil one invariably makes two out of one! The evil one tears the fabric of life apart, while the Spirit comes to mend, soften and heal.
In the book of Isaiah, the prophet describes the coming Servant of Yahweh. It is precisely this quote that Jesus first uses to announce the exact nature of his own ministry (Luke 4:18–19). In each case Jesus describes his work as moving outside of polite and proper limits and boundaries to reunite things that have been marginalized or excluded by society: the poor, the imprisoned, the blind, the downtrodden. His ministry is not to gather the so-called good into a private country club but to reach out to those on the edge and on the bottom, those who are “last” to tell them they are, in fact, first! That is almost the very job description of the Holy Spirit, and therefore of Jesus.
The more that we can put together, the more that we can “forgive” and allow, the more we can include and enjoy, the more we tend to be living in the Spirit. The more we need to reject, oppose, deny, exclude and eliminate, the more open we are to negative and destructive voices and to our own worst instincts. As always, Jesus is our model of healing, outreach and reconciliation, the ultimate man of the Spirit.
What divisions exist in your life? How can you let the Spirit mend those divisions?