When Families Go Bad

I’m sure you’ve heard the horrific news in the ever-continuing Madoff saga. Mark Madoff took his own life in the midst of relentless and mounting legal battles surrounding his family’s financial scandal. I can only imagine the soul-gripping anguish that pushed him down this path of personal demise. Suicide is such a dark path. Those of us living outside this story are clueless to the mental suffering and angst of the suicide victim. While I feel sorry for the many who lost life’s savings, I feel sorry for the family which must bear the continued embarrassment, shame, and ridicule of the Madoff name. Bernie Madoff will be remembered as one of the greatest swindlers and Ponzi scheme artists in American history. That’s the Madoff legacy. What a terrible reputation to outlive.

The Madoff family system regardless of its function or dysfunction ceased following Bernie Madoff’s arrest. Lines were drawn in the sand and personal allegiances were defined which would shape the “family” dynamic in the coming months. Communication was no more; suspicion and blame becoming common behaviors. What once was revered as a respectable family lost their luster in the midst of the accusations, convictions, and tabloid articles. The assaults were relentless. Life hit an all time low for Mark Madoff this past week. He found himself living a personal nightmare for which he saw no escape. In his personal torment, he took his own life – his only self-perceived escape route.

While I will never know the depth of Mark’s anguish, I do understand what it’s like to walk through dark days. I know personal brokenness all to well. During dark times, I’ve always returned to the 23rd Psalm. It is the portrayal of life’s seasons. As I meditate on David’s words, I’m reminded of the valley living season. As I walk through the valley with shaded death all around me, I will not fear. Even though enemies hide behind the shaded portals in the crag of the rock, the Lord is with me. I do not fear because of His presence. He is there protecting me and gently pulling me back onto the right path as I journey through the valley. No matter the depth of your story, the darkness of your tale, or the struggle in your journey, Christ never leaves you or forsakes you. He walks with you through the valley, mountain top, and pasture.

Suicide never has to be your only option. You are not alone. In Him you will find rest for the weariness, joy in the midst of disappointments, and strength for the journey. Life often looks different after a walk through the valley, don’t miss the opportunity for the grand new view and perspective.