A man has died and I’m struggling to process my response to this news. Last night I was woken by a phone call. My Dad was ringing to let me know of this man’s passing and I could sense Dad was trying understand how he should emotionally connect with the news he was providing. How do share such news?
Why should the death of such a man provide me with mixed emotions? It is the paradox of revulsion and sadness. A day has come when a man, who has brought so much pain to so many, has left the earth. He can no longer harm anyone. He can no longer exert his psychological, emotional, sexual and physical bullying. And yet, it is not a time when I feel a sense of elation. Instead it is only sorrow. Sorrow because his death heals nobody. And his death does bring sadness to those that loved him, his death brings confusion to those he has ostracized from their families and his death only leaves more questions.
Faces flash through my memory, faces of people I have loved and those who I still love. Each face scarred by the power that one man had over their life. Within each face I see eyes. Eyes the entry to the person’s soul, and these eyes emanate pain, and the confusion connected to betrayal. Eyes that hold questions never to be answered, for who can answer now?
Then another series of eyes flash through my mind and heart. Eyes of sorrow and fear combined. These are the eyes of those who still idolize him, even in death. For idolatry often lies in the same bed as fear. These bedfellows fuel each other, for the greater the level of idolatry, the deeper the fear. Fear that perhaps this “worship” is misplaced or the subliminal recognition that by affording a man power he should never have received, you are now too entwined and powerless not to idolize him. There arises a moment when a person recognizes, even for a millisecond, that they have been exploited. And yet, this cannot be accepted. For what can one do other than continue blindly believing and following? The alternative, cognizance that your life has been exploited and you made the choice to allow for this to occur. Only those that make the next choice, to challenge and explode the fear, ever leave the web of this idolatry. But then remnants of the web can remain.
For me today is a day to release and lose those remaining pieces of the web. Today we must allow ourselves to be free of his control, and to acknowledge that every man is fallible and human. Death is the ultimate equalizer. Nobody escapes the clutches of death, and yet within me is the desire that justice be brought to bear at his moment of judgment. I do believe that God is a God of justice and I do trust this fact, but simultaneously know that he is also a God of love and forgiveness. And today I struggle with letting God be God and not telling Him what justice should be and resisting the impulse to say, “God this one shouldn’t be allowed forgiveness”. For if I said this, then why should I be afforded forgiveness? God does not have a categorization of sins; he sees them as equal and forgiveness available to all. Thus the greatest gift I can give myself today is to internally release God to be God and forgive this man all over again. It is amazing how many times I have had to do this. Every time I have witnessed the pain he has caused to another person I love, I have to return to God and ask God to assist me forgive him again. For I know beyond anything else that I will not allow this man to continue to ruin my life through my unforgiveness. By forgiving him I remove his power and release myself from being damaged.
Today is just a day that I pray for everyone who has ever been hurt or damaged by this man. As memories arise, as emotions arise, I pray that at every opportunity you turn to forgiveness. For hate and anger will not heal or return those lost loved ones, the years, the pain or the lost dignity.
- Posted in: Uncategorized