The traps of lies, deceit, and greed are everywhere. The record of politicians, sports figures, corporate executives, and simple folk who have and continue to fall into the webs of self and destruction are endless. It is easy to talk about the character flaws that led up to failure. It is simple to analyze how “self” took precedence. Looking leads one to scream “get out, my people, as fast as you can, so you don’t get mixed up in her sins, so you don’t get caught in her doom.” (Revelation 18.4)
Yet we sit in silence as others destruct. Excuses multiply but the simple answer is that we do not care enough to take the risk. Additionally, even if we are not empowered to take this action we rarely focus on the preparation that would give us the opportunity to make a difference.
I would like to suggest that there are at least two reasons (I’m sure there are others).
First, it is hard to be engaged in repairing other people’s lives when we know in our heart of hearts that our own lives are in tatters. Some master the art of illusion to minute degrees, yet the words often ring hollow because we know that there is no truth within their words.
Second, getting involved with another’s life is personal. We are getting into the grit and nails of what makes us people. It is, at the core, personal and intimate. I don’t know of anything that frightens me more. My “self” wants to run away, my fears come into high gear, and the probability of rejection looms large. Everything in me screams “don’t”!
Yet through all of this there is part of my heart that refuses to be safe. I find that each is created with a sense of nurturing and parenthood. We desire intimacy, even when it is scary. We desire family, even with our dysfunctions. We long for acceptance, though the sense of rejection never quite leaves us. It is into all of this that God invites us to come, no, run!