Thursday, November 09, 2006

The Hidden Assassin Within

An interesting article in Christianity Today about the Ted Haggard affair by Gordon MacDonald (I don't know who he is either):

This deeper person (like a contentious board member) can be the source of attitudes and behaviors we normally stand against in our conscious being. But it seeks to destroy us and masses energies that—unrestrained—tempt us to do the very things we “believe against.” If you have been burned as deeply as I (and my loved ones) have, you never live a day without remembering that there is something within that, left unguarded, will go on the rampage. Wallace Hamilton once wrote, “Within each of us there is a herd of wild horses all wanting to run loose.”

It seems to me that when people become leaders of outsized organizations and movements, when they become famous and their opinions are constantly sought by the media, we ought to begin to become cautious. The very drive that propels some leaders toward extraordinary levels of achievement is a drive that often keeps expanding even after reasonable goals and objectives have been achieved. Like a river that breaks its levy, that drive often strays into areas of excitement and risk that can be dangerous and destructive. Sometimes the drive appears to be unstoppable. This seems to have been the experience of the Older Testament David and his wandering eyes, Uzziah in his boredom, and Solomon with his insatiable hunger for wealth, wives and horses. They seem to have been questing—addictively?—for more thrills or trying to meet deeper personal needs, and the normal ways that satisfy most people became inadequate for them.
Interesting insights. Some of my work involves helping people bring to awareness the unconscious "wild horses" and hidden assassins. I believe that every person has weak psychological/spiritual spots not unlike a "bum knee". Some patients recurrently injure a shoulder, hand, low back, no matter the trauma. The body has a weakness at a certain joint and it takes the brunt of repetitive stress.

People also have emotional weak spots that undo them. I have seen insecure men try to fill up their recognition needs with affairs with women who will tell them they are perfect and wonderful. I have seen women unable to acknowledge their anger abuse their children. Every addiction--alcohol or people abuse, sex, drugs, spending, you name it--seeks to avoid the weakness. And that weakness becomes a soul assassin. Left to itself, the assassin will destroy it's owner.

Like the patient with bum knee, many people don't want to do the hard work to rehabilitate the weakness. They stop short of the sometimes painful process of fully healing. They don't want to take the time....until they can no longer move and are utterly unproductive.

I believe we are all on this earth to reconcile those weaknesses. The Universe, God, keeps giving us opportunities to overcome the weakness or sometimes, just acknowledge it and take it into account (some men never get over the bottomless emptiness driving them to a new sexual partner, but know themselves well enough to put external protections in for safety--the Apostle Paul was never fully healed of his "affliction").

To surrender to a Higher Power, we must first see the weakness for what it is--a distraction for the plans God has for us. When we are side-tracked by a knee, or in the case of Ted Haggard, a monumental existential crisis, we are being given the opportunity to live God's plan for us. Too often, we get off track by trying to find our own way, and man, is our way ever difficult. Our way, our "solutions" to our own problems, leaves the bitter taste of weakness and sorrow.

We know we're living God's purpose for our lives when peace and joy and love result from our actions. Ironically, when a person starts breaking the wild horses, they get more in tune with and listen to the True Voice within. They start trusting themselves. Actually, they start trusting God's love for them. Instead of fearing their wretchedness, the assassin, they face it, ask for forgiveness, forgive themselves for the "unforgivable" and get to work.

The happiest, God-centered people, aren't running away from pain into their addiction of choice. The happiest, God-centered people know who they are and why they're here and it might not make everyone happy, but oh well. There is only One Judge of the Universe and He's the only One who counts. He also happens to be the best assassin killer and horse tamer around.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is a wonderful post because it touches and applies to all of us. You also wrote it so well. We all struggle with issues in our lives that we must constantly deal with on some level or else it can destroy us.

This story is sad because there is so much humiliation and embarresment involved. I also knew a pastor who had an affair and it took him three years to get his life back in order. It also caused great humiliation for him and his family. What was this mans true need? What was he crying out for? This was just a manifestation of his own struggles, pain and fears.