Recently I found a huge scratch running along the top face of my Macbook, just next to the nice shiny white apple. I was absolutely devastated. I even cried in a rage that my once perfect piece of top-notch equipment was now defaced and in my eyes ruined, caused by a fault that wasn’t my own. In my life I’ve had my fair share of injuries. I’ve never broken a bone (touch wood), but I’ve dislocated my little finger, got a pool tile stuck in the heel of my foot, and had various other cuts and bruises on my arms and legs. I attended a dance school (as well as a normal academic school) for 14 years of my life, where I tortured my body day after day. If you’ve seen Natalie Portman’s feet bleed in ‘The Black Swan’ you’ll know what I mean. If I combined all of my injuries together, the emotional trauma would not compare with that I felt when I scratched my beloved laptop.
If you’re thinking ‘what a shallow materialistic fool!’ then you are exactly right. I wasn’t spoilt as a child, my grandparents always taught me that you have to work if you want to get anything in this world and it’s not just given to you. So, as a poor student, I scrimped and saved for two years to buy my Mac, it being barely two months old when it was damaged earlier this week. I felt I’d worked so hard for it, that I placed upon it more value than my own body. I am completely foolish. For far too long I’ve taken for granted this body I walk around in. I’ve never really taken a second to step back, take a look at myself, and recognise that a God so lovingly, so mercifully, put more effort than I’ll ever know into carefully crafting my existence.
The disrespect we have for our bodies is the root of many negative issues in modern life, varying hugely across the spectrum. Starting at the extreme end of the scale, close friends of mine, and even I myself, have been both villain and victim in the act of self-harm due to depression. Then consider that there are increasingly more and more women each day that are selling their bodies on the streets as a source of income. Following this are the acts of substance abuse; drug addicts, alcoholics, and then there are those who fail to maintain a healthy diet and exercise regularly. At the end of the day we are all guilty of disrespecting, or even abusing our bodies in some way or another, even the most trying of us. We can never achieve perfect health (that’s what makes us human!). But how many things can you count that you take pride in over your own body? I’d bet more things than you have phalanges!
In my opinion, living healthily out of respect for your body isn’t preached enough in Church. It is an issue seen as of little importance or even perhaps thought of as a prying issue to address to a congregation of over-polite English culture. Why should we be afraid to nudge a friend and tell them they should stop eating so much cake and get the ‘5-a-day’ on their menus? Why shouldn’t we drag one another outside for a run round the park or off for an hour at the swimming pool? I know that I would appreciate it. We need to be blunt in love, pushing one another, be that mirror that our best friends cannot run away from. If it’s smoking, taking drugs, self harm, eating rubbish food, don’t let our over-politeness get in the way of glorifying what God so beautifully created. Consequent of the development of technology and consumerism, as a culture we place far too much value upon the things in life that have no real value at all. Slowly but surely, Americanisation is infecting us with the pleasure factor and we are offending more than ever. But it’s not too late to change our outlooks; it’s no too late to be reminded that the body is sacred.
‘Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honour God with your bodies.’
- 1 Corinthians 6:19-20