Over the past several days, I have been captivated by the stories of Saul and David. Talk about an opportunity for the study of personality disorders, these two men put it all out on the table for everyone to see.
Saul, attempting to cling to a pathetic kingship that he had no doubt was slipping quickly through his fingers. David, doing almost anything to survive, grasping at the hope and belief that he one day would fulfill his call as “the LORD’s anointed.”
On at least two occasions, David had an opportunity to end it all yet chose not to betray Saul as the then “anointed” of the LORD. Each time, they came to what seemed to be a truce, yet both went their separate ways not reconciling at all other than in words.
Saul seeks the counsel of a medium in order to gain direction and understanding. David seeks the refuge of the arch enemies of Israel to gain some semblance of order to his life and those who chose to follow him.
The solace in all of this is, if nothing else, for the reader’s sake – if not then, certainly now. We see men in all their weakness attempting to do what they believe they have been called of God to do. Men who attempt to cover all their bases to ensure survival. Men I identify with all too well.
What I love about the Old Testament is that it seems never to conceal the obvious flaws of its heroes. Something we seldom see either in the New Testament or in today’s culture.
I suspect, especially for men, exposing flaws and weakness, leaves on vulnerable. In part because once we confess and reveal our flotsam it seems to become fair game for destroying us, not a means of restoring us. It’s the price paid for playing on a stage that demands perfection in others.
One Sunday, I was stunned when our pastor told a story about his abuse, while he was a young boy, at the hands of one of is uncles. What stunned me was not so much that he told that story, but I thought – how many men within the sound of his voice might identify with that or something similar in their own lives. Men who fear sharing that trauma because of what others might think, or how they might be judged.
Shouldn’t the church be a place of healing and restoration? Wouldn’t you think that would be the safest place to deal with such issues? Oh, I don’t mean the deep psychological scares from such an event – but the feeling of safety to release it from the hallows of one’s heart and come to terms with it.
I have read of churches who begin such ministries. How the men meet secretly or under the guise of some other purpose in order to deal with histories of abuse, addiction to sex or pornography. I can only imagine the sense of relief and freedom that comes from exposing those sores and allowing them to heal. However, it comes at a cost of another kind.
Dealing with the reality of life is never pretty. Often the people we congregate with would prefer to avoid the ugly and deal with the trivial. I suspect as long is that is the case, the church will never truly be the church.