Column: When someone you love has a dark side

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“Pastor, I don’t understand how they could do this?”

I have heard this despondent phrase so many times from very broken and surprised people. Families and friends are devastated when a very dark part of a genuinely good person becomes known.

How does this happen? Obviously this can be quite complex, but I want to offer an interesting observation I have had over the last few years. People can become really mature in some areas of their lives and stay foolishly adolescent in others.

Some examples:

A medical doctor who is brilliant academically but relationally never grew up … An elderly woman who has attended church her whole life, can quote massive amounts of scripture, but gossips like a 12-year-old girl.

It’s not usually the mature parts that destroy someone. It’s the parts that never grew up.

Here is the bad news – we all have them, little parts of us that never really grew up, that didn’t mature well, if at all. These little parts of us are often irrational and probably out of control. Unless you are a true sociopath you probably wish this part of you didn’t exist, but you don’t know what to do about it.

Here is my advice.

Work to mature the parts of your life that no one sees…yet. Fix them before they blow up in your face. Take care of the dark spots before they grow so out of control they overtake the good reputation you spent years trying to develop. Most likely the difference between you and the “fake” is that your immature parts haven’t grown large enough to be exposed yet.

In Genesis 4:7 the Bible says sin crouches at your door and desires to have you, but you must master it.


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