Tuesday, February 05, 2008

When people aren't who you thought they were

Life is a process of discovering that people often turn out to be not at all who you thought they were. Sometimes, this is a good thing. As a child, I regarded my parents as the gods of my small universe. Now, as an adult and parent myself, I appreciate them more, despite their faults and foibles, and honour them for their honest efforts in raising a family and building a home.

But sometimes, the process of discovery leaves us wounded and grieving. This is especially true when people held a place of authority in our lives, or were special to us in our hearts. Of course, people make mistakes. Often, catastrophic ones. Sometimes they are in thrall to circumstances beyond their control. We extend grace to such people and embrace them as they use their pain to become more like Jesus. But sometimes, such people have no one to blame except themselves, especially if they pinned their ministry and their prestige and their authority and the worth of their good name on their mastery of moral values.

All I can say is, God give me strength to be a good father and husband, and give thanks for rescuing my family from hypocrites.
Cryptic, I know.

Let me leave you with a little Bonhoeffer
“Sin demands to have a man by himself. It withdraws him from the community. The more isolated a person is, the more destructive will be the power of sin over him. And the more deeply he becomes involved in it, the more disastrous is his isolation. Sin wants to remain unknown. It shuns the light. In the darkness of the unexpressed it poisons the whole being of a person. This can happen even in the midst of a pious community. In confession, the light of the gospel breaks into the darkness and seclusion of the heart. The sin is brought into the light. The unexpressed is openly spoken and acknowledged. All that is secret and hidden is made manifest. It is a hard struggle until the sin is openly admitted, but God breaks gates of brass and bars of iron”
--Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945), Life Together

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