I know this guy. Honestly. I don’t know him well. But I know enough. I’ve never felt comfortable around him. I can’t really pinpoint the reason, but it’s there. Hiding behind the façade of friendliness. I see inconsistencies in him. I hear the words he says. I see the look he gives. I know what he does. He’s fighting something. He’s facing a storm within.
The fight looks familiar. It feels like it fits. I think the inconsistency I see in him is the one I’m trying to hide in myself. The thing that bothers me is the flaw I see in him is what I don’t want others to see in me. But I see it in him. Is it because his flaws are similar to mine? If he can’t hide his, then what are the chances mine are hidden? Who is seeing my flaws? Do they judge me as I’m judging him?
Oh. It’s not my intention to judge him. But if I’m honest. Really honest. I’m judging. I want to call out his narrow-mindedness, while I shove mine down. Hoping no one sees.
What inconsistencies do others see in me? Who do I think I’m fooling?
I wouldn’t call him out publicly by name. I wouldn’t do that. But I watch. Hoping he’ll change. Hoping I’ll change. So maybe the one who’s watching me sees change in me. I’m trying. Perhaps he’s trying, too. I like to think he’s trying.
I don’t know his history. I don’t know what caused his attitude and his faults.
Instead of focusing on his flaws, why don’t I look for his strengths? His gifts? His talents? They’re easy to spot. If you know him. If you see him in action. And his career is pretty spectacular. He works to make people’s lives better. That has to be a good feeling. Why not praise him for those things instead of tear him down for his imperfections? Why is it so much easier to focus on those annoyances?
If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his word has no place in our hearts. 1 John 1:8-10
I look at my faults. My flaws. The inconsistencies in my life that I try to keep hidden. Oh. I know God sees them. He knows them. He lets me know he sees them. And asks me to do something about it. He wants me to change.
Someone recently told me one of the faults they see in me. They didn’t call it a fault. They just let me know that’s how they see me. They believe it to be truth. I was left trying to figure out why they think that of me. It’s interesting, humbling and eye-opening to hear others describe you to your face. Sometimes their critiques are correct. Other times, their words make me stop and examine myself.
Maybe I’ve been denying the truth. Maybe I’ve been so blind that I can’t see my own faults.
Reuben Welch once said that we really do need each other. And we do. We need to hold each other accountable. We need to encourage each other. We need to stand with each other. We need to pray for each other. We need to love each other.
The book of 1 John was written to a group of believers who weren’t getting along. John was asking them to be better. To be together. Not against each other. It takes work on both sides. We can see each other’s flaws and still get along.