It’s just my opinion, but I have come to the conclusion that the second major fall from grace is really the hardest one to recover from. The first fall, when you finally realize that yes, you did sin on purpose, and it has hurt not only other people and your own self perception, but also wounded God Himself is terrible but we are so surrounded with “come back” stories of people who fall and are redeemed that it seems almost a right to be forgiven at least once for a major fall. After you’ve fallen a few times one gets almost into the habit of either despair or an expectation that since we are fools to fall, so God is fool enough to repeatedly forgive us and we get rather used to the ups and downs of our sins and recovery. But the second major fall? I believe that may be the most honest fall of them all.
In the story of Ishtar’s Redemption – Trial by Fire, Ishtar hasn’t had it easy. He was born into a world of occult worshippers and his father was a slave raider who was rather good at his job. When he sees the actual pain and misery that raiding and slavery causes he is unable to shake off the horror as simply an inevitable fact of life as many of his father’s other warriors have been able to do. He finds himself remembering ancient stories from an old man who spoke about a Creator God who cared about the world as a Father cares for his child. This imagery haunted Ishtar because it was so different from what he himself had ever experienced from his own father’s hands. So when an opportunity comes he runs away and by luck (or grace) he runs right into Eoban who takes him to ARAM’s clan and Ishtar discovers a new world, a new way of thinking, and in fact a whole new life. His first fall really wasn’t his fall but the inherited evil from his father and the culture into which he was born and from that he did escape…at least for a time.
For us the story is much the same. We are born into a world with mixed reviews. We have good elements in our families and society and we have some pretty scary skeletons in the closet…may be not in the closet…and we have to deal with the reality of grievous forces which have, in fact, helped to form us. But then we are (hopefully) introduced to the perfection of God’s vision for humanity and the coming of Christ…which was a bit more than Ishtar had at that point in history. But then…after this we have to face the fact that we are responsible for our choices.
In the story of Ishtar’s Redemption we find that he after a particularly unfair humiliation he tries to lift his ego by marrying a proud woman from a foreign clan who brings him back into his father’s mindset…the selfish and rather insane mind set that a man can control the gods. From this decision a whole set of horrors are set into motion and Ishtar falls a second time…but this time he can’t blame his father, his culture, or really even his wife for he has to deal with the fact that he is a grown up man now and he made a free will decision and that the effects of this evil will be passed on to his sons…unless he does something pretty drastic. If you read the book you’ll get the rest of his story…but for us the story is too personal to really ever share with the public. It is an inner conviction that we all must face at some point that we really are at fault for our own bad thoughts, our own bad actions, and the pain we cause others and that we can’t go around blaming everyone else for our troubles, our sins, our weaknesses, our free will choices. To continue the blame game is to continue to be a child, unable to break from the chains of environmental dependence to honest life choices. How can we ever hope to become anything if we are always blaming everyone and everything for our lives?
Unfortunately, in our current media we are constantly being drawn back into the realm of the blame game. Rather than looking at our lives, our wives, our kids, our jobs, our debt, our homes, our ignorance, our ill health, our failure as having some relation to our own choices (good ones as well as bad ones) we tend to feel like victims and we can’t move from slavery to true freedom. Ishtar’s first major fall was very forgivable for he was not entirely culpable but his second fall was his own by choice. When he accepted that he finally began to live and though he might fall again – it would never be into despair.
Ishtar’s Redemption will be available free on Amazon Kindle for two days only – next week Tuesday July 23rd and Wednesday July 24th. https://kindle.amazon.com/