Sunday, February 27, 2011
Taking an Honest Look...
Who decided that fairy tales and nursery rhymes were ever suitable bedtime stories for children? Most of them are fully of creepy and disturbing events that occur in some creepy made up land far far away and once upon a time. They usually involve some staple items such as a wicked witch, small children, mysterious forests, and mirrors on the wall.
At times the Christian life can mirror the fairytales and nursery rhymes we learned as children.
As a child, it never really occurred to me that there were so many disturbing and creepy things that happen in these tall tales. I thought the wicked witch and bad guys were scary, and sometimes pictures of them coming out of my bedroom closet kept me awake at night, but I just got used to the stories being what they were and never questioned them or gave them a second thought the next day. As I grew up and matured, however, I started seeing these fairytales in a new light. Whenever I thought about Hansel and Grettle going into the forest and follow the breadcrumb trail to the evil witch’s house, I remember thinking, “Where are Hansel and Grettle’s parents? Why would they let their kids wander around the creepy forest without any adult supervision? Didn’t they teach them never to take candy (or in their case breadcrumbs) from strangers? When they get to the witch’s house, why didn’t the phrase ‘stranger danger’ ever come into their minds?”. So instead of me seeing 2 adventurous children who are playing in the woods and just so happen to run into a wicked witch, I began to see 2 children whose parent’s did not care about them or raise them to protect themselves in a world that can be full of dangerous people who often lure you into their evil with deceptively appealing things like breadcrumbs.
This progression of me moving from an unaware childlike understanding of these fairytales to a more mature and aware grownup understanding is completely normal and healthy. Fairytales were never meant to substitute for reality. However, in the Christian life, many people never transition from the fairytales they tell themselves to the reality ofthe world around them. They stay in a childlike understanding of people and the world around them and never mature to an awareness of the harsh reality of what the world is really like. Of how broken and distorted people and the world have really become. They choose to remain in this childlike understanding of the fairytales instead of facing the reality of the world around them. Christian maturity Demands that we see God, the world, and the people around us in an honest light. We MUST face the reality of our brokenness and depravity as human beings if we are going to call ourselves Christians. God knew that our condition as humans was severe. That’s why he sent his son to die an excruciating and costly death for us. A refusal to accept this reality only cheapens the price he paid for us.
As counselors, it is our job to help individuals move past the fairytale understanding of their lives and the world around them. By helping them take an honest look at the reality and brokenness of their lives, we can then help them to move towards God's grace and healing.