Monday, February 6, 2012
All my life I have tried to find measure between how the world sees me, and the way I see myself in the world. I, admittedly more than most men, have spent quite a fair amount of my life in introspection. I think about who I am as a man at minimum every other day. I wonder where I am going in life, or where I want to go and if its somewhere godly. I have nerdy hobbies that friends of mine make fun of, taking minor pleasures in the creativity of formulating a jab. I have some nerdy hobbies, but I wouldn't classify myself as a nerd. I have a fairly strong work ethic, when I am at work. However, I haven't been to a nine to five job in a good six months. To most that looks like laziness. To me, this looks like the freedom to be able to work on things that I see that truly do matter in life. I have the freedom and the flexibility to show up at a recently widows farm and help lift heavy things in order to get help get her organized for an estate sale. It gives me the ability to drop everything and spend a week helping my eighty year old grandfather use the bathroom after his back surgery. That is the part that I see, where others attempt to define a person by a job. Labels. Tags. Titles and definitions. How we read things. How we perceive things. How we see people. How we see ourselves.
As I sit here eating a handful of cashews I can't help but think of what the world would be like if people had a clear printed label. 5mg of trans-sarcasm. 20% of your daily value of negativity. Allergy warning, this person dwells in places with high concentrations of sin. How much would that suck! You may read that and for a second think, " That would be great, I could be protected from exposure to all kinds of negative influences and live an awesome clean life" but truthfully, it would be awful. What if your label read, " A significant source of pretension and condescension"
Okay, I think I was starting to get a little lost in that analogy.
What do we see when we look at people? Are we angry, and fault finding? Are we blind to them completely? Do we only notice in others our own projected insecurities that make us either bond, or break communication? What standard do we hold others to, and is it different to the standard in which we hold ourselves? Should it be different? Should we demand things of children that we demand of adults? Flip it around, Should we demand of Adults things that we wouldn't ask of children?
What do we see when we look at ourselves and others?
IS your heart gripped with Anger, in seeing so much injustice?
Sadness for a perception of a vast majority of the hurting and the lost?
Are you in a state of bliss having never given any of these things a moments thought?
What about happiness when you see a child figure out something for the first time on their own?
Do we get frustrated when nobody seems to understand, and we haven't found the words to explain?
Illusions. I wonder how much of the way we see the world is just a mirage. Just because we see something a certain way doesn't mean that is reality. We paint these pictures in our minds of people and places, even events. Of how so and so hurt us, or how great such and such is. Occasionally inflating or diminishing the facts in the storage banks of our minds. I think that we are all the same in this. I think most people are the same. We see people as the enemy often for how they are hurting, or we see them as defiant when they just do not understand something. We see others as heroes when they are just as flawed as we ourselves, and we gloss over the shortcomings in order to maintain the overall illusion of perfection. Some people we are graceless with when they really need it. Others we are far far to graceful for when they have betrayed us.
These traits are in all of us. That is what I see. We are all evil, and through God all we who believe are Saints. We all need empathy at times, and we all need to exorcize that for others
One of my favorite people in the entirety of scripture is Peter. My heart goes out to this guy. I see much of myself in him. A man who sees his a purpose as a watchman or maybe a safeguard for the faith. . He was a man of devout faith. Getting out of the boat to walk on water to reach the Messiah. Yet, catching so much flack from modern day believers because he became afraid and started to sink. A man so zealous for what he saw as true and right that he starting chopping ears when they sought to lay hands on the Savior.
This guy became afraid. This guy started swearing at people. This guy became ashamed. Embarrassed. This guy became broken inside. I often wonder what kind of struggle and inner turmoil he was fighting as his savior was dying. I'd bet that he was recounting every miracle, every sermon and every event that he watched and witnessed, and asking himself if it was all a lie. I bet his heart was a bloody mess. I bet he was in the illusion of hopelessness. He had denied the one that he was ready to lay his life down for just hours prior. Perhaps all he saw was his sin, and his abandonment of the one who was supposed to redeem Israel.
The Savior lives, and what is one of the very first things that he says?
Go tell Peter.
It isn't , " That Peter guy is a sin covered ass that left me in my time of need. Let him wallow and let him fester." It wasn't "He deserves to be punished for denying me. He deserves the pain as part of his consequence" The savior didn't rise from the grave just to look down on people. He didn't appear on the road to explain what a major failure everyone is. He didn't pop out of the grave just to brag about how he knocked death out with a right hook to the face.
The first thing he did was care. He cared more about ending the suffering of Peter and the condemnation that he was probably heaping upon himself then anything else. He knew that Pete would screw up. He knew that. We're all just like Pete. We all have denied the one who paid the price for our life. We all have sinned. We all still struggle with sin. We all have our prejudices. We all have our interpretations of who we are, versus how the world sees us, versus the way we really are.
We are all Peter.
and our Choice is this...
We can either focus on the fact that we screwed up in regards to being there for God...
... or we can graciously accept the fact that he came after us to let us know that we have been forgiven and it is time to keep moving forward as a redeemed people.
He didn't focus on the failure. He mended the wounds of a man and sent him to mend others.
Don't get caught up in the illusion that you are without worth. Don't get stuck in the broken part. It may seem like the full scope of reality, but right beyond that is the first step in walking in the knowledge of forgiveness toward righteousness.