In Luke 17, we are told that while Jesus is traveling along the border of Samaria and Galilee, he encounters 10 men with leprosy who cry out for mercy, that they might be healed. Luke tells us, “They stood at a distance…” when they called out to Jesus.
There are many reasons we find ourselves at a distance from God. Usually, no always, we have placed ourselves there, either because we move away from God or we believe that we cannot approach God. The latter is a huge misunderstanding on our part of what God is like and is perhaps a coping mechanism for dealing with our own human frailty.
Do we avoid the topic of our guilty conscience by staying at a distance? Or do we believe our shortcomings are hidden from God’s view? Or worse, do we act as “God” and pronounce judgment over ourselves, throwing ourselves into exile?
It seems we must believe that God truly accepts us, whatever that might mean in terms of what he is accepting in us, before we can “cure” ourselves of standing at a distance. Humanity tells us in unloving tones, “You dare not approach God.” But God says nothing of the sort.