“If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the battleline between good and evil runs through the heart of every man.” —Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
As a survivor of the Gulag Archipelago, the massive Soviet system of prisons to which political and religious dissidents were abandoned from the 1940-80’s, Solzhenitsyn had an unusually awful exposure to mankind’s wickedness. Though he might have considered himself above those who committed such crimes, he was honest enough to admit his own flaws.
I am convicted, and compelled, by the fact that men are capable of performing some of the most heroic of acts, as well as the most heinous of crimes. (I touched on this theme in a post a year ago, also entitled Glory and Ruin). Our daily headlines reveal stories of men engaged in life-risking bravery alongside depictions of men committing unspeakable brutality. Glory and Ruin.
It would be nice, as Solzhenitsyn suggests, if we could just separate the wicked men of our world into a consolidated group and just get rid of them. The truth, as honest men will admit, is more complicated.
Although there are without question, unusually evil men and unusually good men in the world, most of us know that, while we long to become men who others trust and admire, we also have the capacity for selfishness, betrayal and deceit. Glory and Ruin.
I am convinced that, just as men carry the potential to inflict unusual harm, they carry equal potential to bestow unusual blessing.
Glory and Ruin resides in all of us (women, too, by the way). Scripture urges us to “encourage one another daily, as long as it is called ‘Today,’ so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.” Heb. 3:13, 14.
Men, let’s take an honest look in the mirror, and admit and repent of any selfish patterns of Ruin. And then, quickly, embrace the Glory present in all of us who claim the transforming power of the blood of Christ.
Glory and Ruin. I see it in me; I see it in other men. You do, too. Believe in, and call out, the Glory.
My greatest joy in life is my family. I know, that sounds like the comment you’re supposed to make as a man and father. All I can say is I literally shake my head in wonder at the family I have: my wife Beryl; my daughter Barclay and son-in-law Vince, their four daughters, Bella, Brynn, Brooke and Blake; my son Alec, my son Conor and daughter-in-law Bonnie, and their daughter Gemma. Every one of them is a genuine gift. Beyond that, I have a calling that I live out through Peregrine Ministries. It is to help men: Understand their identity in Christ, Embrace their role as men, and Live out their God-given calling in life. Bottom line is I’m convinced men matter and I want to help them live life on purpose.