Below is excerpt from my guest post over at The Peace Pastor – aka Marty Troyer’s blog. Marty is a good friend and a part of the Faithwalking community. He blogs for the Houston Chronicle and is currently doing a series on self-differentiation and how our ability to self-differentiate is connected to identity in Christ and mission. Mine is a story of failing to self-differentiate. Hopefully my failure will be helpful in your learning. I encourage you to the check out the series and follow along!
“At this point it would be easy to point the finger at Mark. While caring for every one else he failed to care for himself. When asked how he was doing, in hindsight it is very clear he didn’t tell the whole truth. As a result, he put himself in a compromising situation filled with temptation. We could point the finger all day and blame Mark for the dissolution of a ministry that was a lifeline for many.
If we were to do that we would miss out on someone who has some responsibility in Mark’s failure. Me. I could include forty other pastors who were involved in the ministry, but I just need to worry about me.
I am responsible for Mark.
In our American culture that sounds like an odd thing to say. We believe we are not responsible for another person. But that is not the case. When Cain asks God, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” the reader can almost hear God’s implicit but emphatic “YES!” as a response.
My failure was a failure of self-differentiation. I failed to live fully into who I am and what I believe. In the face of Mark’s charismatic intelligence I believed the lie that he had it together more than I. When I disagreed with him, I failed to say so because I believed the lie that I was inferior to him.
I failed to share my beliefs that said, “Your view of authority and submission trouble me as they seem to border on control.” I failed to voice my concerns that he didn’t take time to rest. I ignored my feelings of being over-powered when he used his intellect to convince me of his point. I did not listen to my instincts that said, “I know about this relationship and something about it doesn’t seem healthy.”