Looking at the different roles that provided a covering for people. A big brother or sister... a father and mother... aunts and uncles... pastors... coaches... mentors and teachers.
Paul said this to a younger man that he had a great influence on. His name was Timothy.
"For though you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers. For I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel." 1 Corinthians 4:15 ESV
That is such a true statement.
I see a distinction between a role and an identity. Our role changes. It ebbs and flows at times like the tide. It shifts like the seasons. It changes as we age. Our identity is fixed but forms in us. We have parts of our identity we see and parts we only get a glimpse of. Our identity is how God sees us.
"As for you, brothers, do not grow weary in doing good. If anyone does not obey what we say in this letter, take note of that person, and have nothing to do with him, that he may be ashamed. Do not regard him as an enemy, but warn him as a brother." 2 Thessalonians 3:13-15 ESV
Paul identifies himself as a brother to any and all believers. That identity is hinged on the fact that all believers have the same father. He also saw his role as a communicator of truth. He took both very seriously. Both aspects of his life shaped his interactions and initiations. He wasn't haphazard about what he did, or said, or wrote because this was at the forefront of his thinking. Familiarity robs us of the power of truth. Paul was not familiar with where God placed him geographically or in relationships.
Both our identity and the many roles we function in are discerned. The definition is formed in the mind and the spirit.
How many of us are blind to the roles we play? Maybe the concepts are distorted about what our role is and because of that our initiations are distorted, false or just plain absent.
In a way the 'ghosts of leadership past' are echos of distorted or wrongly interpreted roles. There was a breakdown in reception or initiation and it produced pain.
Grace removes the distortion. Love rightly relates us to God and people. Mercy restores focus. Peace calms the turbulence in our souls.
Disfunction is often something we see in hindsight but even our hindsight is distorted by blame and fogged by pain.
"So although I wrote to you, it was not for the sake of the one who did the wrong, nor for the sake of the one who suffered the wrong, but in order that your earnestness for us might be revealed to you in the sight of God." 2 Corinthians 7:12 ESV
Being in God's 'sight' is being close enough for us to see Him and His awareness of the situation. God's sight is based on His grace and because of that we are free and observed in our freedom. That freedom also gives us open eyes to see who we are are where we fit moment to moment.
I don't want to play a role that is not mine to play or neglect the place God has given me. At the same time I can't place blame on those who have done that and caused me pain. Grace transcends both my roles and anyone else's roles. It gives me a basis to have a role at all that will be pleasing in God's sight.
God refocus us today. Help us to walk by faith in what you see. Help us to be a good brother or sister... father or mother... coach or pastor... friend... we can only be those things if you go before us into that territory and show us the way.