This post is a continuation of my Market Analysis series, which began with my post Market Watch. Today I want to cover a topic which was brought up by Elspeth in a couple of comments. Here is the first:
I’m just done, done, done, with pretending that Christ cannot change people deep down and for real. Suppose Paul had been deemed of no earthly use to the Church because of his previous persecution of it.
Which is followed by this:
None of that changes my original assertion that people can and do have sincere changes of heart, and that any person’s decision to reject a certain group of people as mates is fine but let’s kill the “even real and true Christians are damaged beyond any kind of repair as potential mates”.
The issue here is whether some people are so “damaged” that there is no realistic hope of recovery, and thus, eventual marriageability. In the past the word “ruined” might have been used of such cases- as in, ruined for marriage.
First to define “damage” in this context. A simple explanation would be strains or burdens on someone’s physical/mental/emotional well-being which impair his or her ability to have a successful/stable marriage. [If someone has thoughts on a better explanation please mention below.] I mention all of these because they can and do all affect one’s capacity to be a good spouse.
It is also worth mentioning that these factors- these burdens- are not necessarily the fault of the person in question. Some are- the products of sin, for example. But others might simply be the product of nature (think certain illnesses) or the willful actions of others (the trauma created by abuse, for example).
The way I see it, what we are talking about here is a spectrum of “damage.” Everyone has at least some damage- small things which would get in the way of their being a good husband or wife. However, there is a spread which takes place. Some people have relatively little damage (a few bad habits), and others have a huge amount of damage (think of some stories from the ‘sphere). Now, somewhere on this spectrum is a point where someone is too damaged to be considered marriageable. That is, they are too burdened, as they are at that time, to make a good spouse. [I suspect this point is not fixed- it is heavily influenced by culture and the overall environment- thoughts for another post.]
Now all of this needs to take into account that where people fall in this spectrum changes over time. Sometimes damage is “healed.” Sometimes it gets worse or new damage takes place. So the real question is whether some damage cannot “heal” or get better.
Well, having thought it over some, I think there are some people who are beyond simply “damaged.” These people are broken. I suspect most of my readers know people like this. People who have experienced terrible trauma and struggle with it daily. They are enduring burdens which go beyond the need for ordinary healing- they need out and out miracles. And not the everyday miracles we often overlook- I mean the the kind which are unmistakable.
Now, these miracles do happen. Perhaps my readers know of some instances, either with people they know or have heard of through the grapevine. But all the same, without such miracles those people would not have improved. Thankfully they are not common. But they do exist.
At the same time, all of this has gotten me thinking about how exactly people “heal.” And how Christian transformations work. I know they work- I have seen them happen first hand. But I have been wondering about the process. Since Elspeth mentioned St. Paul, I think this seems appropriate to ponder:
I must boast; there is nothing to be gained by it, but I will go on to visions and revelations of the Lord. 2 I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows. 3 And I know that this man was caught up into Paradise—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows— 4 and he heard things that cannot be told, which man may not utter. 5 On behalf of this man I will boast, but on my own behalf I will not boast, except of my weaknesses. 6 Though if I wish to boast, I shall not be a fool, for I shall be speaking the truth. But I refrain from it, so that no one may think more of me than he sees in me or hears from me. 7 And to keep me from being too elated by the abundance of revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan, to harass me, to keep me from being too elated. 8 Three times I besought the Lord about this, that it should leave me; 9 but he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” I will all the more gladly boast of my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities; for when I am weak, then I am strong.
(2 Corinthians 12:1-10)
Part of me wonders if the transformation is not always about healing. That is, it isn’t about removing the harm or burden. Instead, it is about lending strength to the person in question such that they are able to carry on despite the burden. If so, this is important to understand because there is a marked difference in how they operate.
If the burden is gone, then it should hopefully not come back to haunt someone in the future. But if the burden remains and is covered by grace, then a lapse in faith by the person means that it comes out full force again.
Perhaps my readers have some thoughts on this they would like to share. I am curious to hear what you folks have to say.