When you sit with endless human depravity…

you can become quite cynical about Christians, christian organizations, etc. is there any church or pastor who isn’t completely hypocritical? Are there churches or boards that handle abused individuals with care? Do any of our leaders actually admit their wrongs and seek forgiveness? Does anyone in a difficult marriage stay and avoid bitterness?

The answer, of course, is yes (to the last three questions). But we counselors rarely get the opportunity to hear those stories. Why would anyone pay us or bend our ear to tell us how great something worked out. But we humans have a propensity to collect “look how screwed up the world is” stories. Isn’t that what the news is all about. When I go home to my parents in Maine they actually do have some feel good stories and it feels rather strange and unnewsworthy. Where’s the killings, the rapings, the pillagings? This is news?

And yet it is good to recount stories where humans treat each other better than they deserve, where they admit to failings and refuse to excuse wrongs. Frankly, we must admit these stories aren’t exceptions. They happen all the time but we are blind to them. We fail to record these behaviors because we know how easy it is to not show mercy, to not show humility–because this is how we act sometimes!

So, listen for those vignettes where leaders, parents, spouses, etc. either suffer well or are willing to own up to failings (and then do the right thing about them). These stories are all around. And while they don’t dismiss those where leaders fail us they do round out the picture.


Filed under Christianity: Leaders and Leadership, stories, suffering

3 responses to “When you sit with endless human depravity…

  1. Lightbearer

    Well said 🙂

  2. I am a therapist on a child & adolescent inpatient unit. Last week, the weight of the human depravity was really getting to me. An inordinate number of my clients have been adopted, and it seems like they have so many problems. My husband and I are infertile and adoption is something we’re considering, so these stories really weigh on me. It is hard for me to remember that I only hear the ‘problem’ stories. The ‘happy ending’ stories aren’t ones that end up inpatient. My view is skewed, I know, but it’s hard to remember sometimes (not just in relation to adoption, either).
    Thank you for this reminder!

  3. Louie Buses


    I too am a Christian counselor who sees the weight of depravity, sometimes too close to home. My wife of 38 years and I are parents of four children, one fetal alcohol effects (FEA) adopted daughter and three “homemade” kids. We did not know she was FEA when we adopted her. Though she professed the Lord at about 12 years, she has shown little evidence of salvation. She has had three children out of wedlock and is not capable of raising any of them. We have the middle grandchild with us. Needless to say, she has been the source of much pain in the family.

    When I look at her and her impact on our family, I am often reminded of the book of Hosea. Though both God and Hosea knew that Gomer was unfaithful, none the less they chose to love her and seek what was best for her. In the end, Gomer (and Israel) were saved and restored. There are no guarantees when you adopt (or for that mater when you have “home made” children).

    I understand your reticence given your experience. The question is, “Is God leading you to adopt”? If so, He will pick the child and the circumstances. You get the blessing. However, the blessing is not always in the form we want. Often it is in the form of growth in the midst of trial. How much do you trust God to do what is right?

    My daughter is now 33. She still struggles. But when I see how her brother and two sisters who greatly love her and help her in spite of the pain she has caused them, I am blessed. When I see my grandson, who lives with us, growing spiritually, I am blessed. These are not the ways I would have chosen to be blessed, these are God’s blessings. God is good. We are reminded in scripture that He has good plans for us. If we stay focused on serving Him and doing His will, we already have the victory and are waiting for the blessing. Grace to you in Jesus.

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