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Dark Narratives



Not too long ago, I encountered a less-than-supervisor who accused some subtle whistleblowers in his organization of spreading what he called a "dark narrative" among the workforce. People in the organization had been mistreated for so long that many of them became frustrated and began speaking truth to their colleagues. When this supervisor heard that light was being shed on his leadership deficiencies, the unethical activity rampant in his office, and the general incompetency of his staff, he reacted instinctively by describing these truths as "dark." That is to say, he tried to pass off truth as untruth in a vain effort to protect his own reputation.


Of course, this is nothing new. Throughout history, men and women have tried to save their own hides by taking something pure and true and portraying it as something putrid and trivial. Jesus, for example, spoke truth to the leaders and people of Israel, but they responded by calling him a heretic, marginalizing his message and followers, and, ultimately, hanging him on a cross. Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke the truth, and people accused him of being a rabble rouser, a racist, and a communist. Julie Roys told the truth about unethical activity occurring at Moody Bible Institute, and she lost her job, her radio show, and the support of the evangelical community. "The truth" is an undesirable desirable thing. Many say they want it, but when it comes, they are often not ready or unwilling to receive it. Their reaction, then, is to reject it.


But this is an immature response, especially for those who claim to be people of faith and/or who claim to be seekers of truth. Naturally, our flesh will always motivate us to protect our reputations, but we who claim an enlightened view of truth must suppress this urge to protect ourselves and, instead, cultivate the courage for justice and conviction. Only when we show such courage will truth stand a chance. Is putting truth above self easy? Absolutely not! But it is an imperative for those who want to grow spiritually and professionally and who want to leave a positive legacy in God's Kingdom.


The supervisor I mentioned above has a lot to learn about enduring narratives. His redaction of truth doesn't alter it; it merely ignores it. And the narrative he described as dark was, in reality, one that bore the light of truth. Indeed, the only dark narrative is one that excludes truth! But I suspect he and others like him know this intuitively since the light of truth weighs quite heavily on the heart making for an internal narrative that is no doubt haunting.

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