Thursday, March 28, 2013
It's All In Your Perspective
A lack of grace, I have observed, seems to stem from a few different perspectives.
One is when we have lived through the sin or trial that we judge in others. Example -- If we were once ____________, we may tend to be much more judgmental of others caught in that stronghold. Sinful pride will tell us that we conquered this sin, so all others should too - on our timeline and in the same way. Somehow it escapes us that, at one point, we were unable to see our own need or a way to get out of it - and God loved us - right there in the mire of it.
If we are currently caught in a sin or trial, we may judge simply because beating the crap out of someone else, emotionally and spiritually, is easier than facing our own failure and (at least our hope is) will draw attention away from our failures and on to those of others.
Another reason for a lack of grace is that it hasn't touched us at all. When I've never been particularly tempted by a specific sin, never caught in that stronghold, never lived through that trial, it's easy to judge others that are and how they're coping with it.
Sadly, I have exemplified, (and sometimes still do), all of these weaknesses. They're easy to get caught in. We like to be right. And often, we like to be right more than we like to love -so it leads us to a whole multitude of sins.
I have had a host of black and white, easy answers about the issue of homosexuality - until someone I love told me they are gay.
I had lots of opinions and judgments for parents with a wayward teen - until close friends, who did everything like I thought it should be done, had one. .... And then I had one.
I had trite advice for those struggling with depression - until it hit our family.
I did not have much sympathy and often had judgment for the plight of the single mom, the parents whose kids had been removed from them and put in foster care, the person living on welfare, the promiscuous teenager sitting on the third row, the divorced person sitting alone...
And sadly, even the mom that worked rather than stayed home, the family that chose not to homeschool, the family that allowed their kids to read Harry Potter or listen to secular music (my list of rules was loooong, I'm tellin' ya') - until I got to know them - until I knew their stories.
I've had a whole host of rules to live by - man/religion-made rules, not God rules - It was easy for me to write off people that didn't follow these rules - until life caused me to see the emptiness of many of them. I spent so many years encasing myself in a population of people exactly like myself that I couldn't see a bigger picture.
Love caused me to back up and look at things from a different perspective.
I'm NOT making light of sin. I know that sin is sin, it breaks God's heart and it must break ours, it destroys people, families and churches and must be dealt with, we need to hold one another accountable and confront sin within our faith communities (iron sharpens iron and all of that). I'm not saying, "we're all weak and sinful, so let's just give up and wallow in it." Not. at. all.
But honestly, can we just love each other through that process? Really love - with our actions, not just our words ("I love you, but..."). Can we admit that some of them may not even be sins? Can't we remember that, when it is sin, it is God that will break that stronghold, not our tirades or judgments?
If we loved a little more, we might find people a little more willing to be upfront about their struggles and get help.
I want to see people from Jesus' perspective, not my limited view. I want to love like He loved --- the adulterous woman, the leper, the demon possessed. I want to love people the way He loved Zacchaeus, the corrupt tax collector and Nicodemus, the devout Pharisee. His harshness (and He did have some) was reserved for those who failed to love, those who condemned rather than offered hope.
God help me.