Helping with one hand, hurting with the other


As humans we have the capacity to split ourselves. One minute we can help another, the next we can harm. A friend of a friend of mine recently admitted to taking advantage of another in a vulnerable position. This person seems quite wise. He has good advice when I’m stuck. He is able to see through knotty situations. People come to him for advice and counsel. And to a person they feel the better for it. But now it is evident that he manipulated someone for financial benefit. It wasn’t illegal but certainly immoral and unethical.

How is this possible. Can salt water and fresh come from the same source? It should not be possible but it is. I meditate on this in my own life. I can be gracious to my kids one minute and harsh the next. I can heal and I can kill the soul. We all have this capacity and so we must be on guard against complacency. It is easy to stand in judgment of the one who commits a heinous crime. When this person is a believer, we begin to question their honesty and integrity and disbelieve that any good done prior to the crime was of value. And while we should do that since something was clearly wrong and somehow the person has disconnected from his/her soul, we ought also to explore our own soul for the same disease.

May God help us to be unwilling to entertain or ignore self-deception.

2 Comments

Filed under Abuse, Christianity, Christianity: Leaders and Leadership, Cultural Anthropology, Psychology, self-deception, sin

2 responses to “Helping with one hand, hurting with the other

  1. Amy

    I was thinking about this a little more literally, but I remember Hawkeye talking about the “amazing human hand” on an episode of “M*A*S*H” (yes, I know it’s before my time, but I love the show). He was talking about the muscles and bones, but he said how we can cup the face of a loved one, use it to heal others (speaking from the perspective of an army surgeon), to slap someone, or to hold a gun and shoot them. Your post just reminded me of that scene, which I always found particularly poignant.

  2. Scott Knapp, MS

    Very astute, Amy! I remember that episode (I’m 43…it’s inculcated into my generation). Good memory!

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