Many years ago, in the middle of a theological argument about what is required for the saving of a man’s soul, I formulated another of what I call
Dart’s Laws. This one is, simply stated:
Disillusionment Is Necessary for Redemption.
I have little doubt that many of you have experienced disillusionment at one time or another in your life. The mentor relationship is a classic example, as the protégée thinks his mentor has the answer to everything. A careless mentor may allow this sort of error to grow if he doesn’t make it clear that he is not infallible. Sometimes, when the protégée comes to realize that his mentor has feet of clay, he enters what some call
The BOOM years: in other words, becoming one’s own man.
Two other classic examples of religious gurus come to mind. They occurred right around the same time. Jim Bakker and Jimmy Swaggart, both got caught in compromising situations and were branded as hypocrites. A lot of people got disillusioned about that time. One wonders about the followers of Jim Jones in Guyana who woke up suddenly to realize that the man was a suicidal maniac. For some of them, there was no time for the redemption that can follow disillusionment. There are more examples in politics than I have time to enumerate.
There is one more thing you should know about illusions. I learned this the hard way, and I am giving it to you free. You have no one but yourself to blame. We accept illusions because they give us something we want, need, or think we need. Usually without paying for it. And this may explain why disillusionment comes so hard. People will fight for their illusions. They will defend them to the bitter end. Let’s take a look at what God told Jeremiah to tell ancient Israel when they were desperately clinging to their own illusions.