What is it about our human condition that easily sees dualities everywhere except in ourselves? We speak loosely about notions like good and evil, right and wrong, and black and white in addressing the world around us. But when we need to turn inward to examine ourselves we trip over these concepts.
The idea that in one person there can be both good and evil is hard for the individual to accept about herself. We prefer to think of how we can unify these dualities so we can live with ourselves more easily. We are not both good and bad, and there is no right and wrong, we tell ourselves, because we reject moral absolutes or the idea of a sinful nature. We prefer to see our dark side as our weaknesses that need improving and our limitations that need accepting. It's easier to sleep at night if we don't face up to what we really are.
We buy the lie and the truth of who we really are is relegated to a dim corner of the mind and banished from the heart. Absolutes supposedly belong there, in exile, with God and all those uncomfortable impositions of sin and its consequences, and notions of accountability and personal responsibility. We are happy to accept this sort of mediocrity with regard to our inner life because it is hidden away from the world and we're the only ones who really know ourselves.
Acceptance helps us live with ourselves but surely there is more to life than just living with our limitations and tip toeing around our sinful nature because we are so fragile that if we really looked in the mirror and saw what we were we'd hate ourselves, and that scares us.
Can we ever truly love ourselves with all our blemishes, weaknesses, dark corners, evil intentions, lies and failings? Don't we want to overcome and transcend our so called limitations and rise above the level of mediocrity to be better than what we are?
It's very hard for many of us to do that because first we'd have to admit and accept that we sin and that evil does lurk in our hearts, right alongside good. Then we would have to hate that sin and evil within us so much that we'd want to change, while accepting that we are good and worthy of love, all at the same time. Hate the sin, but love the sinner. This can only happen when we recognise the duality in all of us, and that God loves us as we are.
Instead, we become prickly and collapse inwardly when we perceive our weaknesses to be condemning us when they are actually our greatest teachers and catalysts for change. We are defensive and overly sensitive and put up a fight to hold on to that which needs to change so we can really grow. If others point out our weaknesses, limitations, failings, sins etc to us then they teach us about ourselves, about them and ultimately about life and love.
Loving others can only happen when we love ourselves, warts and all. We just need to keep excising the warts. It takes so much courage and great humility to be honest with ourselves but that's the only way to live, with honesty and constantly fighting the darkness within. It is a battle. The only way to win it is to be honest with one's self and humble before God. That's actually half the battle won.
When my life is over I want to be able to say I fought a good fight, and that goodness, truth, honesty and love won. Hardest thing ever, but the best things usually are. Mediocrity is cheap. I'm not buying.
Thanks for reading,
14th January 2017
1 week ago