The thing is, I’m not perfect. (try not to spit out your tea in shock) Now I don’t I really think I am or that anyone else thinks I am. But sometimes that’s the expectation isn’t it? We assure each other that we know we’re not perfect, we laugh about it, how ridiculous. But then we hurt each other, and the wheels come off. We know the other person isn’t perfect and yet we are hurting and we’re not too sure how to deal with all that.
The thing is, I’m a selfish sinner. I think of myself before others. I make things about me me me me me. And sometimes I say things like that to make you all think that I’m oh so honest and real about my sin. Deep down I still want it to be about me. The layers and layers of sin and muck go deep. I rebel against my creator, I hurt his creation, I am a wretch.
The thing is, so are you.
We have a problem. And it’s made worse by knowing that we were made for so much more than this. We were made to love, to put others first, to be unselfconscious about ourselves and deeply concerned about those around us. We were made to love the best in each other, not delight in the worst. We know things should be different and so we get surprised at the hurt, and the pain is deeper because we know, this should not be. We respond to the pain others inflict by withdrawal and we hide the hurt under the veneer of “I’m fine”. It’s crazy how much hurt gets hidden to fester under the surface this way. We were not made to live with the “I’m fine” veneer.
There is another way to be. A way that doesn’t deny the pain we inflict on each other, a way that doesn’t expect perfection but seeks to live in the mess, a way that is open, honest and real with each other. A way based on the open admission that you and I are wretches but that we are wretches upon whom love has been lavished, and who are called to lavish the same love on each other.
This is how we were made to live. “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God.” We learn from the master, we learn from the greatest example and we love. We love because He teaches us how, and His love involves forgiveness, an expectation of sin and a deep welcome home when we turn back. This is a love that does not falter, a love that perseveres even in the face of hurt, pain, and wounds caused by others.
I’m not saying this is simple. It’s simply hard. But it is our call, it is the way we are to live, it smashes our pride on the floor, as we admit we have hurt others and accept grace, as we admit others have hurt us and give out grace. It’s our call as His body. It’s the only way to genuine community, it’s the only way to walk as Jesus did. The big surprise of our world right now is that I am not at the centre. Our lives are for others. Our lives are His.