Saturday, June 7, 2008

Classic tragedy.

In Australia this month we've had a senior criminal investigator caught attempting to smuggle narcotics into the country. It's a major betrayal of trust - and you see cases like it everywhere. It's also a real life example of the classic Greek or Shakepearian tragedy.
The officer involved was a highly accomplished crime fighter who had reached a very high-ranking position. He's a person of talent and achievement, who has earned respect and standing. And it was all ruined by one major flaw. That officer was an addicted gambler. Some reports say he owed a million dollars to bookmakers for money lost betting on horse races.
I'm not going to run the man down. I could, because we've all got the right to believe that people do the job they're paid to and honour the trust placed in them. But if I'm quite honest with myself, I'd have to admit: in the wrong circumstances, that could have been me. That doesn't mean I'm seriously dishonest, or that I've got a gambling problem. I do not. But like any other human, I've got character flaws.
Self-understanding includes knowing your own weaknesses. It's easy to forget that when we live in a society that encourages the individual to be 'self-actualising,' which can actually mean self centred: you put yourself first. But that man could have saved himself huge embarrassment - and his family, likewise - if he'd just kept an act together. I can't explain all his behaviour because I'm not his analyst. But anyone can see that he made a bad mistake and kept on compounding it. Could it be that the power and standing of his position went to his head? He got carried away by his own sense of grandness?
Shakespeare wrote tragic plays, showing the same miserable scenario working it's way out. Macbeth was a gallant nobleman seduced by his dreams of kingship. Othello was a warrior and man of standing who failed to control his jealousy and lapsed in understanding the way people sometimes behave. And they went down - tragedy, the great character ruined by their critical flaw.
So what is a Christian to say about this, without getting self-righteous?
All I can think of is, seek God and follow His leading. I'd better be careful myself, after I undertook to write this little lecture. If anyone reads this, I admit to you, I've failed to live up to my own principles enough times. It can be HUMBLING, you might say. I know this, too. If I'd been given any great amount of power, it might have corrupted me the way it corrupts so many others.
Good literature can show the reader or viewer how life works, that way, and give a timely warning. That's one reason, probably, why Shakespeare's work is classic, and stays in print and in production.
The Holy Scripture warns anyone who reads it: beware pride, greed, self-spoiling.
It can be irritating if one person takes it on themself to critisize another. But it can be disastrous if we lose sight of the fact that mere humans all have flaws. Don't let them destroy you.


jel said...

Morning Andrew,

hope you and yours are well!

good day!

Becoming Me said...

Excellent post. I'm so glad you found my blog so I could find yours. Also, there was a glitch with my blog this morning. I actually didn't end the post with a question, although your answer was great. The rest of the post is at Faithlifts and now the link below is working. Blessings, and I will be back.

Moyjo said...

check out

new blog by me and a friend. thought you might enjoy it since you were checking out the soulkravings blog. thanks man!

Fr. Peter Doodes said...

Recognising our faults is easy, trying to rectify then is not. As Paul said in Romans C7v18-19

"I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do, this I keep on doing".

Him and me there, so we ask forgivness every day. However never lose sight of the fact that we do actually, despite it all, at times get it right!

Judith said...

Appreciated your thoughts. My pastor has often said that the reason we avoid some sins might have more to do with a lack of opportunity than righteousness!

FiddleWiz said...

It's where "constructive criticism" comes in sometimes. Often when I find myself caught up in...whatever... All I need is someone to wake me up to reality, my own weaknesses, etc. Often it's a dear friend who points out my flaws. It's hard to hear from them (I mean, they're my friend!) but they're also sometimes the only person I would WANT to hear that from, if that makes sense. Yay for traveling through life, and trying to do our best! Cool post!!

Claire said...

Apparently life is the same all over the world. Some days I just want to throw in the towel and leave the US as I fear we are headed down a path, away from Democracy, I think we'll come to regret one day.
I think no matter where we would choose to live we'd run into the same issues since human nature hasn't changed much at all since the beginning of time.

Kayla said...

Hey, you suggested a book (Outcasts of Skagaray) to me the other day. I just wanted to let you know that I appreciate that! I'm always looking for new and interesting books to read. I love fiction fantasy books that incorporate faith and, well, basically books that I can see the 'Christian' links in. wow...this must be so confusing. I read the excerpt on the site and I was spellbound from the seconds I started reading. I will definitely have to look into finding this book!! Thanks again!!

Kayla said...

I completely agree that people turn to Christ when someone dies like that. Did you hear that, as this story was being broad-casted on the news, someone, prepared for suicide, changed his mind and prayed right there! Isn't that amazing? ;)