Twin boys were brought up by an abusive alcoholic father, who, whilst he seemed to have tried his hardest, did them a great disservice in never renouncing the drink. These boys were scarred. They grew up knowing shame, fear, and anger. They would be angry with their father and they would be angry with themselves, let alone the world.
Thirty years later, then, it was a great surprise to learn the life outcomes of the brothers were completely different.
One had followed in the footsteps of his father, and his drinking and drug addiction were part of the making of a severely dysfunctional family set up, including two messy divorces and several de facto relationships. He struggled to hold down a job. All is relationships were highly conditional. There was very little trust, joy or peace in his life.
The other brother had departed from the footsteps of his father, vowing to never go there; to never drink and to never allow drink any such role over his life. He had developed an aversive reaction to anything related to the type of life his father led. He was compassionate about his brother, but also given to frustration that his brother couldn’t see the life of death he was making for himself.
Around the same time the same person asked them this same question separately:
Why has your life become what it has?
The answer to that question was astounding as it was interesting.
They both answered, “It’s because of Dad! Because Dad led the life he led, I cannot help leading the life I lead.”
We can see that it is true for both. The brother that followed in the footsteps of his father made his choice because he couldn’t see a way of living life beyond what he’d experienced in the role model that was his father. The brother that departed from the example of his father did so because he couldn’t live that way, even if he tried.
Each was destined—even perhaps predestined—to follow a certain way.
But which way would we go?
It’s easy to answer such a question. Look at the piles of evidence that is strewn through each of our lives. Some of us have chosen a path that leads to life and some of us have chosen the path that leads to death. We have all chosen both paths.
Choices for life (abundance) or death (disintegration) are made by all of us. There is a flow-on effect to these choices. The beauty of life, resplendent in the grace of God, is we can turn from death to life any time we want. The secret of life is turning away from death (sin) and turning toward life (whatever is pleasing to God).
© 2013 S. J. Wickham.