I spent two months “getting to know” this guy as a potential male companion. I’ll spare the details because in light of the outcome, they are irrelevant.
I detected early on that the most clear difference between us was his truth approach and my grace appreciation. While I do not dispute grace is no excuse for being jacked up, I understand that truth is ineffective without love.
If only truth mattered, there would have been no need for the example of sacrificial love demonstrated for us. Jesus, who was perfect, spent quality time with imperfect people. He challenged them with …well, himself (The Word)…and though he may not have always been gentle, it is clear that it came from a passionate and loving place. Even when knowing that Peter would betray him, he loved him. He stuck with him. He built him up.
This is the love I know and aspire towards.
This is nothing close to what I experienced with this person. I was constantly, though subtly, told I was not enough. I was defined by my weaknesses. My struggles were unbearable. Mostly every thought I expressed was scrutinized, and I was somehow to blame for everything, and I mean everything.
Most people would have run immediately. My openness to critique, desire to grow, and merciful attitude made it a bit challenging. Much of what he said was truthful, as in full-of-truth and nothing but. For example, if I want to stay healthy, I can’t binge on ice-cream. True. But his presentation and ceaseless barrage of criticism tore me down #outofbounds. I had to walk away. Not only for the sake of my health, but to protect God’s love for me.
Because I was giving this person so much time, his words began to ring in my head. I began to meditate on his words day and night. I saw myself through his eyes….and it wasn’t pretty. It was worthless and undesirable.
What a travesty that I allowed another limited human being to threaten what God says about me. When I see myself through the eyes of the Divine being who breathed me into being, I am beautiful. Yes, even with my flaws. Because I am being made perfect. As long as I cling, I am being transformed. It is the mystery of that God kind of love.
Grace is not an excuse to be a hot mess. It is provision to get out of it. We know when we do things that are not edifying, it does not feel good. But we have the ability to choose at any moment, and with God’s help we experience the joy of conquering what once defeated us. Yes, it is true unwise choices lead to undesirable consequences, but as long as there is hope, there is opportunity to make the wise choice.
I gave that person’s words life, but only God’s word is life. God’s word says that I am beautiful.And somehow it makes me better.
I have come to understand that I am not being asked to give up my literal life (health and well-being) for others, but there is a sacrifice of pride that expresses a God kind of love. When truth is motivated more by the pleasure of being right than by compassion, this is not God’s kind of love. When your truth speaking, leaves no room for grace, that’s condemnation. And there is no condemnation for us who are in Christ Jesus. Not even our hearts can condemn us. Don’t let anyone else condemn you.
God’s love works!