No one is ever as good as their best day, nor are they as bad as their worst. We mostly live somewhere in the middle, on a quest to tip the scale in the positive.
There are moments in every day that add to either account and they are moments that everyone has, but nobody (that counts) really sees.
I have loved (and lost) a total of three times in my life. While I readily admit that I was not a perfect mate, I did my best to be integral. In the end, that’s what cost me. Each relationship ended with a few prefacing conversations. Revisions on the phrase, “It’s not you…it’s me.” When, in fact, it would have been closer to the truth to say that it was me…every single time.
I learned to love from Love Himself. God, being Love, also being gracious (as Grace is an attribute of Love), took considerable time to teach me how He loves us. This is a very painful and challenging thing to experience, even more master. It compels one to be transparent; without hidden agenda, without excuse, without retreat. It demands that you take an unflinching look at yourself in order to see others clearly.
The real challenge is in seeing yourself as God sees you. Everyone I have ever had a ‘surface’ conversation about this concept almost always assumes that means that he sees you as you will be in your glorified body; perfect, loving, kind…bearing the fruit of the spirit. When in fact, it means that He sees you as DIRT: a filthy, plain, unholy mess with all the issues and isms that have been bred into you through the however many generations of curses that have been heaped upon you. BUT, he also sees all of the purpose and potential that all the generations of blessings have lain dormant within you. He sees all of the attempts to overcome along with all the slips and slides of your journey. AND YET, He loves ALL of you…COMPLETELY and WITHOUT CONDITION. He loves you without reservation, just as you are, in the middle of whatever struggle you may be encountering right now.
Usually, that poses a challenge because most folk work really hard not to see their own mess. It’s really difficult to deal with the broken places and still appear to be the best dressed version of themselves. Far too often, in my experience, it’s the people that work really hard to put their ‘best face forward,’ are the ones that are likely to judge others for their faults to deflect from the faults they believe everyone sees in them. This is an unfortunately common occurrence in the world today.
It’s rather difficult to be friends with somebody in that particular predicament when you have spent the better part of your life digging through your own pile to sort and dispose of your own mess. It becomes a part of your nature to identify issues and behaviors that would prove a hindrance to the future of your relationship with that friend. But, the truth is, it’s not in the nature of ‘appearance-minded’ people to appreciate when you as an ‘unconditional lover’ make note of any challenge that goes deeper than, say, spinach in their teeth, or a fly-away collar. They might take offense.
This is where things get complicated.
If you have spent a considerable amount of time in the presence of an all knowing, all loving, all forgiving God, Who is capable of taking even the worst, most tattered fabric and making it beautiful and whole, as if it were brand new, you see yourself and everyone around you from the perspective of being the perfect candidate to be made over. You are eager to know and understand everything about the people you wish to befriend. You wouldn’t care about how messy or murky their deepest, darkest secrets are. As a matter of fact, after spending that quality time in God’s presence, you are able to identify certain flaws and snags in other people with some degree of ease. Not to place blame or condemn, mind you. You recognize the shortcomings only as opportunities to see the hand of God at work in their lives.
But, remember…they are only concerned about the ‘appearance’ of perfection, not in being made perfect. It is disconcerting, to this kind of person, that you even ‘see’ the flaws they have been working so hard to mask. It is even considered tacky that you would bother to bring it up!! And, God forbid you actually offer to go through the recovery process with them and be their support system as God does for them what He’s doing for you! They will, quite often, hear nothing of it.