Why should anyone be surprised when those who knew him or her in the young days seem to struggle when they get older? Yet when something haunts from long ago I find myself rebelling and becoming defensive. How could one possibility assume that the person I was almost two decades ago is the same as I am today? Were the behaviors that irritated them so viral like that they cannot imagine that I have grown since then? What about growth, learning, and change?
I watched one defend his reputation and found myself reliving a bizarre criticism, never openly voiced of course, of a few months ago. A similar process is underway with those campaigning for political office. Decisions taken decades ago are now held up in a new light and against standards not known or anticipated during the original scenes. Is the best response to admit the mistake and talk of learning and growing? How much of the details of your history and mine do we want to be discussed and dissected publicly? Is there anything that deserves to remain private?
Ironically we all know mistakes exist. Yet the community appears desperate to go on in blissful denial. Momentary decisions, often made in moments of exhaustion, stress, or distraction, change the course of lives but only if they are revealed. Always act as one has no doubts, failures, or anything less than perfection. Bury, blur, or prevaricate are daily mandates.
Imagine if we were open, honest, and transparent with each other? Just as “Jesus knew well from experience that a prophet is not respected in the place where he grew up,” (John 4.44) he acted without fear or ignorance. There was no surprise in the reception that he received but the fact that he wasn’t accepted with open arms didn’t deter him from him mission.
I fail; far too often. Today’s opportunity is to act with this knowledge but not determined by it. God has given us a gift knowing all. The real surprise comes with living fully and completely with the knowledge and the gift.