I'm currently working on the production of a podcast episode with a guest I inadvertently discovered was a friend of writer, activist and philosopher Jean Vanier.
For years, Jean Vanier was a hero of mine. His humility, his simple but never simplistic message of compassionately engaging people on the margins of life, inspired me.
He offered hope for a better world of belonging.
The devastating news of his moral indiscretions erased another longed-for leader from our languishing list of revolutionary role models, and calls into question...
What do we do with the message when the messenger falls?
After the interview, I commiserated with the guest on Vanier's tarnished life legacy and he offered this provocative response, "Shoot the messenger, not the message," turning the colloquial expression "Don't shoot the messenger" on its head.
Of course, he wasn't suggesting "shooting" his old friend, but rather confirming we are not always worthy of the words and work we espouse during our lifetime.
History is littered with kings and queens, presidents and pastors, artists and teachers whose work, words, and wisdom outlive their moral and ethical shortcomings.
As the old proverb says, all our human glory is like the flowers of the field. Flowers wither and fall, yet truth endures forever.
We are all messengers.
We bring faith but are faithless.
We bring hope but are hopeless.
We bring love but are loveless.
Tomorrow, twenty years, one hundred years from now...
Faith, hope and love will remain despite our penchant to defile the better angels of our message.
Only time will tell what withers,
and what endures.