Guess what? I am not perfect. Guess what else? You are not perfect either. Yea, that is right. I called you imperfect. You have flaws. And so do I. Matthew 7:3-5 reminds us that we shouldn't be quick to judge others for their faults without addressing our own. "And why worry about a speck in your friend's eye when you have a log in your own? How can you think of saying to your friend, 'Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,' when you cant see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend's eye." - Matthew 7:3-5 But we don't always follow this lesson, do we?
We all know that its easy to focus on the dents, holes, disfigurements, wrong way paths of everyone else so I am not going to sit here and bore you with how I think you should go back and read, re-read, re-cite, remember, re-read again, and tape the above verse from Matthew to your forehead then stare at yourself in the mirror. No matter how hard we try, it happens. For whatever reason, it is a trait of being a human that is hard to let go. And that's ok.
I say that its ok because our God is a forgiving God and no matter how many times we sin doing the same action, He will still forgive us. In fact, He will forgive ALL of our imperfections. Thats why it is so important that we forgive the imperfections of all of those around us. Not so easy, is it?
Let's talk examples for a minute. Recently I encountered a situation in which my family and I were the victims of a woman's anger or cry for attention. It was a fairly extreme situation at the time and we were very successful at withholding our anger, rather than opening the lines of judgmental, hateful and regretful words. God gave us the strength. However, I was not as successful at controlling my thoughts... Her actions and words made me very angry and the thoughts in my head of her were not so pretty.
It took me a while to realize that she isn't perfect, just as I am not perfect. I know my own scars that I have obtained on my journey, but I do not know hers. I can control my own actions, but I cannot control hers. Her walk with God, or lack thereof, is her journey... her growth, just as I have my own growing to do. I have no right to be angry with her.
Love. Regardless of the hurt someone has caused. Regardless of actions, words, concerns, age, race, ethnicity, sex, religion. Love. That is what it all comes down to. God's love for us is unconditional. If we are to be like God, then our love for people - and the world - should be unconditional. Who are we to place conditions and stipulations on who we allow to feel the love He has given us to share?
Matthew 5:38-46 "You have heard the law that says that punishment must match the injury; 'An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.' But I say, do not resist an evil person! If someone slaps you on the right cheek, offer the other cheek also. If you are sued in court and your shirt is taken from you, give your coat, too. If a soldier demands that you carry his gear for a mile, carry it two miles. Give to those who ask, and don't turn away from those who want to borrow. You have heard the law that says, 'Love your neighbor' and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! Int hat way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and unjust alike. If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? "
Unconditional love is something that we may never fully succeed at, but its something that we can continue to reach for. Even if we react out of hate and then stop and realize our wrongdoings, we have taken one step forward. We can always try harder next time. Maybe one day it will become second nature.