The other day I found out that a brother (call him Fred), a fairly well known leader in his country, was found to have fallen pretty hard.
The news didn't surprise me very much. And that surprised me a great deal.
I also felt some unease beyond my grief for this man and everyone else involved, from his wife to his congregation. This unease was something personal, subtle, and elusive. I prayed and listened quietly, and eventually understood. I had Eustace's Syndrome.
I'd known something was wrong from the time I met Fred. I had no idea what, but he didn't match the the man I'd heard about. There was something not right, something I didn't like. I ignored this and wrote it off-- even though I knew better.
I grew up in a culture that was big on not judging. If you couldn't point out an obvious, major sin, you were being judgmental, which meant you were sinning. If you weren't comfortable around someone, it was just you, and you needed to repent. The topic of discernment seldom came up. Of course, I dealt with this long ago.
I also have a history laced with insecurity. This was reinforced by some people (not everyone!) in the church who, whenever I disagreed with anyone, would make it clear that I was wrong. I learned the hard way to just keep quiet. Even though I was frequently proven right, I developed a mindset that I was inferior in understanding who people were and what they were doing. Prophetic gifts were seen as real only so long as they produced positive, happy words. Of course, I dealt with this long ago.
I also have a very trusting nature. I've been told I'm too trusting. Combine this with insecurity, and if I trusted you at all, there's a part of me that would believe almost anything you said. Of course, I dealt with this long ago.
Or so I thought.
As Eustace found out with dragon skin, these things come in layers. Taking one off feels good, and it's definitely gone, but upon reflection you may find another layer of the same thing. And that's what I found-- fear of being judgmental, insecurity, and blind trust in others.
In this case the other people are trustworthy. But God gives us all different gifts, insights, wisdom and knowledge (to name a few) at different times-- and I have prophetic gifts. I believe he was letting me sense something. I should have pursued that, prayed over it, paid more attention.
Instead I let my insecurities kick in, and combined with that tendency to overly trust, I assumed the worst about myself (without even realizing I'd fallen back into that pattern), and wrote it off to personality differences or some vague failing on my part.
Somewhere inside, I knew better. I still did it.
I'm not beating myself up (I once would have). I don't blame myself. Had God wanted me to play Nathan to Fred's David, I'm sure he'd have made that clear. But at the same time, there is a reason I knew something was wrong, and I should have gone after that. It might have made a difference to someone. I hate not being fully me, doing all I'm capable of-- for my sake, for your sake, for God's sake, for everyone's sake. I want us all to reach our full potential!
What's next? I may have Eustace's Syndrome, but I won't fall prey to Eustace's Self Cure again. Rather than simply attacking that newly discovered layer, I'm taking Jesus up on his offer to remove them all. Will it hurt? It just might but if it does, it will be worth it. It's fine for a dragon to be a dragon, but I'm not a dragon so there's no point in wearing his skin.
I also pray Fred will let Jesus do the same thing for him. And that you will, too-- whatever dragon skin looks like in your life.
Finally, if this means I let any of you down, please forgive me.
You're awesome, and I love you, and so does Daddy God.
That includes you, Fred.