Phillip Jensen writes:
“Hello, my name is Bill, and I’m an alcoholic.”
So goes the usual opening of testimonies at Alcoholic’s Anonymous. The willingness of Bill, to accept and openly testify to the fact of his addiction to alcohol is a great step forward in addressing his problem. But is Bill telling the truth when he says “I’m an alcoholic”? Is that his true identity or should he be saying “I’m a human who is addicted to alcohol”.
Are there bad children or only children who do bad things? Are there liars or only people who tell lies? Are there thieves or only people who steal? Do we punish criminals or crimes? Does God love the sinner but hate the sin?
Personal identity—the “Who am I?” question—is one of the most difficult issues to resolve. Is my essence to be found in my self-awareness, or in my actions, or in my relationships, or in my creation, or…?