In the past month I have read parts of my life narrative on two other blogs. Both blogs are read by many more people than read this one. Reading about one’s self can be a little unsettling. At least it has been for me.
When I began reading the first article, I was not aware that I would be reading about myself. I would be exaggerating (but maybe not too much) to say that my initial reaction was “What an idiot…Wait, that’s me.”
That’s the interesting thing about the stories of our lives. Some of us tend to place ourselves in a certain role when we selectively tell our story. Some of us play the role of hero. Our memories are all about the mountain top experiences. If we have experienced failure, we are certain to recount how we pulled ourselves out of that wretched valley of temporary setback.
Others of us play the role of the victim in our novel. A villain exists around every shadowy corner to snatch our joy. Surely we would have been an “all-the-rage” success had that antagonist picked on somebody else.
It is interesting that rarely do we write ourselves in as the villain. We aren’t to be blamed. I’m either the hero or some villain has prevented me from being the hero.
But what if we really have been villainous? What if our own evil desires have brought about our downfall?
When I reflect on my own story, I am the villain. I have been my own worst enemy. Sure, there have been accomplices and the Evil One has been an influence. But I am the one who walked down into the dark valley. I am no hero. Nor am I a victim. My name is villain.
I shuddered as I read about two chapters in my story told by another. They were true accounts, but not my finest hours. In both cases my relationship to something I love was askew.
In the first I failed at properly interacting with the Bible and with the will of God. Never mind that I was following the instruction from a book authored by a man who is still very influential in Baptist life today. I was young and ignorant (my fault not the author’s). I wanted to do what was godly and right. In that instance God overlooked my folly and continued to guide.
In the second account, I failed miserably in my interactions with the church. The storyteller and I had met for the first time in a number of years. It was after my moral failure and fall from the ministry. The meeting took place in what I would call my angry phase. I was not very kind in my words to my friend about the other Christians in my life. During this angry phase I was playing the role of the victim in the story.
Yes, some of the brethren could have made wiser decisions (in my opinion). But as the years have passed, my thoughts and words for these men are much different. I regret that I put them in the position that they found themselves. God has used them (some more than others) to demonstrate his grace and mercy to me. For that I will be forever grateful.
And the storyteller? Outside of my parents, he is my longest lasting Christian relation. For more than three decades, he has been a true friend. He has encouraged me and challenged me. He was my friend when all was well and he was my friend when nothing was well.
So, I am no hero nor am I a victim. Villain am I.
Yet, a hero exists. God has covered my sin by the willing death of his Son, Jesus. He has chastened and forgiven. Because of who He is and what He has done, I won’t suffer the fate of the villains from the fairy tales. I will instead walk with the hero in this amazing story of redemption.