The Human Condition

"They will know you by your love for one another". That phrase always leaves me undone. I love it, I love what it says and the depth of hope that it brings. Then I'm faced with my expectation. I am looking for that kind of love all over, in my own heart, in the hearts of other believers, and I'm not seeing it all that often. I long to love others like Christ loves the church - selfless, serving, honoring. I fall so far short. I am waging war in the arena of my mind. That is the battle that I want to conquer first. I pray daily that the words I speak would be pleasing to God but the thoughts I think are the source of those sentences. I need mind-renewal. The struggle is the issue of dealing with this question: Why is it so hard for me to accept that every single person is a mixture of dignity and depravity? The truth is that we will never be fully one or the other. I always want to categorize, put people in a box, see them as depraved, or as full of dignity. Either way I hold an expectation against them that is not realistic and it judges them. I do the same thing with myself. I get discouraged when I fall short and need grace (I feel depraved) and then when I do something beautiful I feel my dignity and seem to forget that I am also full of depravity. It's the tension of the human condition and my brain has a hard time receiving both messages at the same time. I look at the drunk beggar on the street and I don't easily see dignity - but it's there. I look at a respected spiritual leader and I don't easily see depravity - but the very nature of being human means that it is a part of their existence. I want eyes to see dignity in all mankind because God bestowed incredible dignity on us when He took on human form, and I want to remember that we all have depravity in us and are in need of a Savior. No one is exempt. We need Him.
I need eyes to hold dignity and depravity in tension without conflict. I need the cross, the place where I can come with my depravity and be washed clean to receive dignity. I need the cross daily, hourly, moment by moment. If I can live the way of the cross then I will learn to have acceptance and grace for myself and others. I'll let go of expectations and I will find the way of love that preaches to the world.


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