I used to think that everything and everyone could be neatly nestled into the black and white.
For decades I was of the thinking that all things could be divided up into dark and light, righteous or unrighteous, good or bad….
That if one part was dark….all of you was. That if there was any light shining in – then it hit everything.
But as I meet more people, and as I ponder ideologies, and as I look at my own broken self, and as I journey with God…
I’m realizing that there is a lot of grey.
There are things in life that can’t be nailed down into nice little camps. People, especially.
There are so many facets to each of us, so many bits, so many different threads, influences, experiences, bents.
People are never all good or all bad….
Humans are a harried mix.
A few years ago, in a season of personal revelation and relationship experiences – I began to understand that people can’t be deemed and doomed.
There are certainly pieces of us that can be placed into certain sectors – but not the whole of us, and not for forever.
It leads us to a discussion on grace.
Everyone we eventually grow close to, will have areas that aren’t exactly awesome.
If we stay safe on the surface of people’s lives, we remain blissfully ignorant of their struggles and shortcomings. But if we find ourselves getting glimpses of their hearts, we will see some inconsistencies. Some good, some bad, some in-between.
And that there is where it gets good.
When people do this grace thing for us – holding out hope when we derail, calling out the bad while praising the good, sticking around and helping us to hone and heal – even though we have things to hash out…. that is where this all begins to sound right.
Realizing that God has lavished grace on me, makes me want to pass it out to others .
Are we cautious and careful and wise? Yes.
Are we discerning and watchful? Absolutely.
But are we forgiving and gracious and understanding of people’s humanness and sin natures? Yes we are. Because we know our own.
What would have happened if leaders over me and friends around me and family that knows me – would have thrown all of me into the dark camp… when they saw some flecks of coal in my life?
I do not know. It scares me to think of it.
Because so many times…what we are labeled, is what we become. (Let’s all be especially prudent in keeping this fact in mind when it comes to our children.)
For example….just because we see a sliver of laziness in someone – it doesn’t mean that they are lazy in everything, or that they are lazy always – but if we speak that over them and treat them as so….it could get that way.
This topic feels like it should be spoken rather than written. But this is my avenue now, so I’ll spill it here.
So much more could be said and discussed on this. (Like how I am in no way advocating for foolishness or a lack of discernment. Or how when we see all good in heroes and mentors, we should understand that they are still fallen humans who can flail in life sometimes.)
But let’s walk away from our Thursday post here feeling prompted to pitch our habit of black and white thinking, especially when it comes to people.
Let’s be alert and heedful, while still being merciful and open.
We are under a wind advisory today.
All manner of things are blowing around outside. It’s making me think that while it’s whooshing in from the southeast today, and while I’m careful to bring in things from the porch to protect them, the direction of the winds can vary and switch and change, sometimes quite dramatically.
And so it is with human hearts.
Enjoy the close of your week, friends. Grateful to God for each of you. Back early next week!