Saturday, December 9, 2023

As Are We All


I was recently watching a television show where an old man in a nursing home was talking to a younger man about the young man’s father whom the old man had known well.  This father had been dead for many years.  The son remembered him from his childhood and the memories were painful.  He was a hard, demanding man; prone to drink and inclined to discipline his children in the old ways.  

The son asked the old man, “You knew him well. What sort of man was my father?”.  

The old man hesitated and then looking into the son’s eyes replied sadly, “A lesser man than he had hoped to be…as are we all.”

That might be one of the best lines I have ever heard.  Most of us have the tendency to judge others far too harshly while giving ourselves a pass on our behavior to the point of even blaming others for the people we have become.  

I’m not going to make this about victimhood or oppression and all the socio-economic-political push and pull around those issues.  This is, and should be to each of us, more personal.  How does one feel about the people in their life who have let them down?  Family members who failed to meet expectations, would- be mentors who let them down, employers who did not deliver on their promises, people in one’s life who just let us down without warning or regret.  

But how often do we look in the mirror and recognize that we are that family member who failed, the mentor who missed the opportunity to change someone’s life for the better, the employer (or employee) who did not deliver on promises or that we are the person in someone else’s life who let them down? 

Repentance begins with recognition.  Certainly, the realization that we are not the person we had hoped to be.  But more importantly, confessing that we are not the person God made us to be.  I don’t mean physically or mentally.  I mean the person you are as an eternal, spiritual being made in the image of God.  That person is the one who must confess they are less than they had hoped to be and most assuredly less than God created them to be… are we all.


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