Friday, May 2, 2008

Trying to Process and Respond

From another blog, in response to events at Southeastern Bible College:

The news we got this week is still pretty hard to believe. How could someone (or two individuals) we held so dearly and looked up to so much fall so far? How do we make sense of someone trading paradise for a bite of fruit? Is it any easier when that person is someone we revere, someone we considered a role model, the epitome of what it meant to be a Godly individual?

How do we respond in this kind of a situation? One initial response is shock. Another is anger. Yet both of these seem somewhat misguided. None of us can say this could never happen to me. We all let ourselves be carried away by sin at times. We all find ourselves on the edge of disaster, faced with choices that are hard to make. Sometimes we all fail. So what right do we have to be angry? While we can rightly say what was done is wrong, we can make that judgment, are we really in a position to look at them condemningly? Can any of us throw the first stone? And how can we be shocked that this has happened, we see the roots of the same things in ourselves. The fact that two individuals whom we all thought so highly of have been caught in this should be proof that none of us are immune.

So how should we respond? How do we look at this? At least for me, what seems the most appropriate and overwhelming reaction is sorrow. These two have destroyed themselves to a great extent. They have lost a lot of what they stood for, what defined them. Dreams and goals are now completely abandoned. Can the friendships they had ever continue on the same level? Can they in any way justify what they are doing with what they believe and have taught so many others? Looking at what these two have now become, what they have left of themselves and their lives, all I can really feel is sorrowful for them.

I think the impact this has may be beneficial to many. There is a certain healthy suspicion that comes when some disaster like this occurs. Not necessarily of others- how can I judge what I do not know?- but of ourselves. We all know that we have this same potential to fall. We should see in this a reminder of that. A reminder that we should be ever-mindful of our own intentions and actions so that we do not put ourselves in the same situations, falling into the same mistakes. This is not to say that we can with absolute assuredness avoid this kind of thing ourselves. But I know for me that it is going to be hard to get this out of mind. Every time I pick up certain books I will think of it. Every time I encounter certain people I will think of these others whom we have for all practical purposes lost. The constant reminder of the nuclear shell that they set off with their actions will I think act as a deterrent in large part to me ever even starting down the same paths. I cannot say that I can maintain perfection, but I can say that this has a huge impact on me moving forward. To at least some extent I hope it does the same for many others.

I hope and pray that these two are able, in some way, to remove themselves from the mess into which they have landed. They certainly cannot turn back the clocks. They cannot fix what they have done, the consequences will follow them for years to come still, no matter what they do now. Looking at this raises so many questions about a host of issues moral, theological, and personal. I don't want to even begin to try and unravel those here. What I want more than anything is for them to sort through this situation themselves, to find a solution, to seek reconciliation and forgiveness with God and with those they have affected. I want for us to be able to move beyond this, but to still remember their mistake so we can avoid the same.

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