Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Meeting Me & Becoming Them

Even though you have ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel. 1 Cor 4:15

There are some questions that God will not answer directly. It’s as if He waits until our maturity level or experience gives us a basis for understanding the answer. For me one of the questions in life has been understanding my leaders and being frustrated because they just could not understand me. As I grew, learned to forgive and began to lead others there was still a subtle nagging sting of past misunderstandings and hurts that remained without closure. Then the answer came from two directions at once.

I met me. I never planned to meet him, and I was not prepared to meet him. Actually, I began to lead people – some of them young leaders – who reminded me a lot of myself when I was a younger leader or when I started following Christ. As I began to help these people through familiar struggles I became surprisingly embarrassed. It was as if I was in one of those dreams where I am naked in a room and no one notices except me. (don’t laugh, you know you have had this dream too) The nakedness I now felt was in realizing how I must have looked to more mature believers and leaders when I thought I knew it all. How patient had they been? How much had they overlooked? This was the first half of God’s answer to me. I had met myself.

The next part was the hardest part. As I helped these growing leaders I found myself offending them in the same way that my leaders had hurt me. I meant well, but their expectations were too high. I never meant to offend. I explained and apologized. Some forgave and grew. Some did not. In this moment God answered. I had not only met myself but had become those whom I could not forgive. Understanding came, the offense in my heart lessened or vanished altogether and I realized the truth of the matter.

  • Spiritual fathers are great, but they are few and far between.
  • Even if we have spiritual fathers we need to have realistic expectations. Herein lies most offenses. They are perceived offenses.
  • Leaders are not God, they are not our real fathers and as we grow their influence has to decrease as we become fathers ourselves and get to know The Father.
  • God cannot answer some questions without growth on our part. If He simply told us the truth we might not believe it.
  • Mirrors come in many forms.
  • Even at our best we are just like those whom we can’t seem to forgive.

When G.K Chesterton was asked to contribute an article to the Times on “What is Wrong with the World?” he responded with the letter:

Dear Sirs,
I am.
Sincerely yours,
G. K. Chesterton

Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness.
Heb 12:9-10

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