Changing Identities

I live with an autism spectrum disorder. I acknowledge this, and I refuse to be treated medically. My autism is part of who I am. It is my identity, and, if a person with an ASD is high-functioning enough to be self-sufficient and a productive member of society without medical intervention, I strongly believe it is wrong to force treatment on the individual. To them and myself, autism is no disease or crippling disability that needs curing. It is a part of who we are. To remove that variable would be to remove a part of ourselves, and no one but the individual affected should be allowed to make the call whether or not to eliminate that facet.

In Christianity, I think we view sin too often as a disease. To an extent, this is a valid view based on Matthew 9:11-12:

And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto His disciples, “Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners?”

But when Jesus heard that, He said unto them, “They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick.”

However, this can lead to a shallow view of sin – something that can be eliminated through simple treatment.

Rather, prior to accepting Christ, sin is not a disease. It is our identity. Sin is as much a part of our being as our personality or eyesight. It takes more than “taking two Advil and calling a minister in the morning.” Turning from sin takes a change of identity. See Galatians 2:20 as an example:

I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

Paul makes it clear that he has stopped living as Saul would have. He has stopped living for himself. He now lives like and for Christ.

Just as I will never receive any kind of treatment for my autism without conscious, deliberate decision on my part, each of us has to make the decision to change who we are when we turn to Christ. Repentance  and baptism is not a simple vaccination. It is the deliberate turning away of a life that once defined our identity into a new existence defined by Christ.