One of my Fuller Professors, Sherwood Lingenfelter, recently released a book, ‘Leadership in the Way of the Cross’. It was painful for me to read, as some of my own case study material was in it. As I read, I remembered my own regrets - mostly people I had hurt, decisions that impacted badly on others, my inability to draw out what I had perceived as the best from people. I confess my own culpability and brokenness. I have sometimes behaved as I thought I should and have later discovered that my thinking was grounded, not in love, but in evil. Is this intentional - I think not - but we are easily blinded by our own defensiveness. Repentance requires turning away from destructive behaviours, not seeking justification for them.
Living with my husband’s daily approach to living with cancer makes me conscious of the value of living life to the full. Why waste time? There is too much beauty and wonder and delight and joy to spend our time creating pain. Yesterday, I spent time with a broken student, who was desperate to hear from her own mouth a word of hope in a dark world. In order to voice it, she first needed to confess the darkness around her and the impact that has had on her decisions and actions. My role was neither to condemn nor to preach, but to companion her on a difficult journey. She is suffering and has more suffering to come, but she is also now able to articulate her hope in a choice to live. Bearing witness to her word may yet bring me life.
For those of you who are able to speak out of your own brokenness, take courage - your suffering gives you credibility. For those who do not know you are broken, be silent - wait and listen - Christ is always coming.