Thursday, March 7, 2013

Toppling Mother Teresa

This morning as I skimmed the news headlines on the Yahoo home page, one in particular caught my eye - "Mother Teresa not so saintly?"

I clicked the link and faced another searing headline: "Was Mother Teresa actually sort of a jerk?"  Wow, they certainly didn't mince any words. (See the full article here.)

It seems Canadian researchers who pored over nearly 300 documents on Mother Teresa, a Catholic nun who worked among the poorest in Calcutta, India, discovered she may have actually "glorified" suffering rather than alleviate it. Because of her "fame," her organization collected millions of dollars in donations, more than enough to build and equip adequate medical facilities in India, but ran "instead a haphazard and cranky institution."

Mother Teresa
 Guess what? Mother Teresa was also human, also fallen, also in need of saving grace offered by a loving Redeemer. But, honestly, I am somewhat disappointed - she was someone I did indeed admire.

Too often the people we place on pedestals only have that much farther to fall.

I have made the mistake of admiring folks, placing expectations or pinning my hopes on them, only to be disappointed and hurt. It's not that they went out of their way to harm or dishearten me, but they are human and thus fallible and frail.

No one keeps their word 100% percent of the time, or makes the best decisions at every opportunity, and yes, this does include Christians. Those who believe and trust in Christ are in the process of being sanctified and that work is ongoing until we reach Heaven.

Idolizing others only puts them in positions they cannot maintain and distracts us from focusing on the only True God, Jesus Christ, who was human, but also divine and sinless.  

In the case of Mother Teresa there still may be a silver lining.

"Despite the study's inflammatory findings, researchers claim they aren't out to smear Mother Teresa," stated the article, "'writing that it is "likely that she has inspired many humanitarian workers whose actions have truly relieved the suffering of the destitute and addressed the causes of poverty and isolation.'"

So, we learn and benefit from the good and admirable in the lives of people like Mother Teresa and leave what is less desirable behind. We must do this with everyone in our lives. I hope others are also willing to do this for me.

And, in the meantime we must also...

"Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart." - Hebrews 12:2-3


  1. Sorry, but I don't like the new blog page!! The other more interesting and inviting with the pictures, etc. Love, Marmee :-)

  2. Great post!
    "Too often the people we place on pedestals only have that much farther to fall.: So true, and it only hurts us both.

    May we be like Peter to walk on the water with our eyes on Jesus, and to learn his lesson before falling so that we may be firmly fixed.