Two stark responses stand out. In one case, a several individuals destroyed the career of a work colleague. In another, a senior manager took out his anger on a group of innocents. Both parties were unaware of the impact of their actions on the other. In both cases, the actions were born in frustration. There was more than one reason behind their actions, yet each was in the end inappropriate for the situation. When confronted by a reminder of what they had done, their responses were at opposite ends of a slippery spectrum.
The first group is still in denial. They believe they were justified, no matter happened in the aftermath of their decisions and choices. Even when confronted, they stand in defiant arrogance. Regardless of the facts, they believe they were absolutely, totally, and completely correct. From any objective perspective, nothing could be further from the truth.
The second individual took a very different approach. When reminded of his actions, he reacted with chagrin. As the replay occurred, humility, a request for forgiveness, and a commitment to learn from the experience was expressed. It was a model worthy of some great people before him. We are not called to perfection. We are called to be accountable, responsible, and to learn. This often involves confessions, apologies, and seeking to make amends. It is usually difficult. It can be painful. It will rarely come naturally.
Even as I reflect on my own life, I find myself unsure if I really want to hear the truth. When “God says, ‘You have spoken hard, rude words to me.’ [Even as I/]You ask, ‘When did we ever do that?’” (Malachi 3.13) I am not sure I want to know the answer. Even in my hesitation, I know that I want to hear. I know I must if I really want to be alive. The world of my imagination will never be as good as a reality engaged with God.
Each dawn is a moment of awareness. It is our opportunity for openness; to hear and grabble with everything life gives.
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