I was a master inquisitor within the community of our faith. You may consider me as one of the archdeacons in the hierarchy of our religious institution. I held the office of the overseer of the young members of the faith.
I wasn’t the inspirational kind of church leader. I wasn’t the kind of professor you saw in Dead Poet’s Society movie. I was never compassionate with others. I used to be constantly consumed in wrath, and showed a light mood very seldom.
When I spoke in front of the faithful, it was as if I was on a high pedestal. My words conjured visions of fire and brimstones falling from the skies. My rebukes thundered as if they were the very wrath of God being poured on all creation. I knew my fundamental theology well and used such doctrines to single out presumptuous heretics, rivals or idiots that are clinging on the ladders of ecclesiastical powers.
And for this I was commended to teach the Holy Scriptures to the youth. Then I had a following. All line up behind me awaiting my commands. They did it for fear and/or for their love for God.
I derive my authority from the Holy Scriptures. I believe them to be the authentic Word of God- God-breathed and divinely inspired. My knowledge of the teachings of the apostles and holy fathers of the Church established my authority and command their obedience. I feared no detractors or critics.
In my watch, I made it sure that biblical principles were upheld and imposed upon the youth of the importance of pursuing holiness and righteous living.
Yes, I was that legalistic pharisaic Christian. An asshole of the purest kind.
Why did I do it? Part of me admits that knowing you have a powerful influence upon the lives gave me a perverse ecstatic satisfaction, and part of me knows that it is for the greater good of the community, of the brotherhood of faith.
One time we had to deal with an excommunication of two young members of the church who committed sexual immorality. I was too unforgiving, denounced them heartlessly, and even spoke out as if to deny them grace and pardon. At the time, there was full conviction in my heart of what I said, that I was doing the Lord’s work, that the only way to correct their wrong-doing is to carry out this excommunication in the most rigid manner possible and then banish them from the church building until they come back to ask forgiveness.
It was one of the most difficult moments of our community. Many people were hurt. Many betrayed me. Many remained faithful. Many lost faith.
It’s funny how some frivolous love affair could burn friendships and hurt emotions in the church when things like this are nothing but an entertainment item in the world. It’s funny that the morals taught by the Bible was upheld by someone like me, one who is nothing but an empty tomb in front of the holy laws of the Almighty, a rotten hypocrite clothed in sacred regalia.
So I won the case. With my aid, an erring brother and a wayward sister were expelled. But what have we gained? What have I gained?
Perhaps the admiration of people who thought, “Now this is a holy man.” It’s true what our beloved bishop once said, “You may win an argument, but you won’t win a soul.”
My days as a holy man are numbered. I will eventually fall from the pedestal from which I stand. What was concealed from the church will be revealed soon. And very soon, those who followed me will be the very ones who will demand a pound of my flesh and my eventual excommunication.
Why was I so unforgiving then? Why did I act mercilessly? Because I was afraid that the church would never accept me. I thought that the only way to protect me from being hurt is to claim to power and undermine all the others in the shadows of an earthly glory. I thought my salvation is through the strict adherence to what they called truth.
I have come to this point of my life that I realized that I cannot live anymore in the false pretence of a holy servant’s cloak. I have caused too much pain to others, and have built friendships on a false personality. I want to live in sincerity and righteousness.
Even though I have a striking fondness for powerful offices, I have decided to relinquish them all and stay away from them for I may have done great things but I have hurt a great number of faithful people. It was never God’s intention that people get hurt in the expansion of His Kingdom.
I will fall, and that’s for the good of everyone, and for the glory of God.
Years have passed since the end of those troubles. The erring couple was once again admitted to the church but still under disciplinary action. Slowly they were being admitted again to the community. They have a beautiful baby girl now. And I was chosen to become one of the godfathers of the infant.
It is always a great honour for me to be chosen as godfather, and at the same time I was humbled by this. I felt I was forgiven for what I’ve said and done. I realized my errors. I realized how I ruined myself with my own pride and self-righteous attitude.
Alas, I’m starting to become human again.