I admit to being one of those poor souls who lament the current state of things and wish they would get better. In some areas I actually work toward making things better, especially in the area of my calling, that of preacher. There are fancier names, but I am a preacher. Some consider me a good preacher, I admit a little rush when I hear such compliments, but down deep inside I wish I knew myself to be a better man.
Such thoughts come upon many folks in the autumn of life. We have lived, loved and made positive and negative impacts on people and we have fond memories and just memories which we work hard on keeping out of our focus. I like the precious ones.
A man whom had been a friend, then an enemy and then a friend again, was killed the other day in a traffic accident. He drove 18 wheelers for 26 years and got into that profession on my urging way back when. When I heard the news I wept for his family and for what he had become after a rather rough start in life.
I was his pastor for 14 years. I have known he and his family for 30 years. Why do I mention this? Simple, I wonder as a person of influence in his life if he would have been an even better man if I had been a better man?
Engaging in such retrospection often is not healthy, but on occasion can be used of God to help us become better specimens of the human race and of the Chosen one.
All of us are said to be three persons. The public person, the private person and the person God knows us to be. It's the last one that needs work, for God knows all about us, loves us anyhow, but also works on us from the inside out, to make us more perfectly conformed to the image of Christ.
Strangely enough in close human relationships, such as a pastor and people, what we really are on the inside bleeds through and has a positive or negative effect on those close to us. To fail to recognize this is to cause much pain, to ourselves and to those over whom the Lord has made us shepherds. Failure to come to grips with this truth causes us to be smugly satisfied with a status quo that is toxic.
In our families and all other relationships it is important to take the word of God as a personal spiritual mirror and take long, lingering looks at ourselves on the inside and rather than placing blame, cry out to God to make us more like the shadow image on the spiritual mirror, that of Jesus.
For the most part my wife will be a better wife when I am a better husband at least that is what she says. My children will be better children when I learn to be a better parent. My friends will better friends when I become a true friend, one who truly loves at all times.