Hello everyone! Happy Friday!
This is a loaded blog topic for today. Why do I say that? Our fellow humans are complex creatures. God made all of us this way. We are a unique blend of physical body, spiritual kind and soul kind (mind, will and emotions). This does not make for easy relationships or easy solutions to the world’s problems. I will be forty-two this month and I have learned a lot in the last 25 years about people. I have seen many forms of human nature, both good and bad. I have learned a lot about myself as well. I’m just as complex as anyone else is, I’m also just as flawed – even when I don’t want to admit it.
I want to highlight three things I have learned about my fellow humans (and myself). They are: 1) we all want love and acceptance for who we are, 2) we all want to be heard (validated), 3) we all have faults. All me to expound.
Love and Acceptance
This human need for love and acceptance can drive us to do things that are either good or bad. I have seen it drive kids into gangs. I have seen women and men stay in relationships they should get out of for their own good. I have seen women harm their own children. All of these things I have seen because someone is searching for the love and acceptance of another person. Yet, I have also seen others extend love and acceptance is substance abuse programs, churches, personal friendships and marriages. I have done both good and bad things for the love and acceptance of people, all the while not realizing Jesus already loved and accepted me so I didn’t have to work for anything. He was not waiting to knock me on the head. He loves me as I am, where I’m at. It was only when I realized how much he loved me that I could break off the things that were harming me in my pursuit of love and acceptance. I left my abusive marriage four years ago and I left an unnecessary friendship about 6 months ago. What I realized in both circumstances is my need for love and acceptance had been filled in Jesus. I did not need to pursue harmful friendships or relationships to feel accepted and loved. I already was accepted and loved! And I did not have to pretend to receive that love or acceptance either! Are you striving to get love and acceptance from another person, a person who may not love you no matter what you do? Are you harming yourself in the process? Did you know Jesus already loves and accepts you as you are? You don’t have to pursue love and acceptance in all the wrong places with all the wrong people. All you have to do is pursue Him!
We All Want to be Heard
Every person on this planet needs validation, someone to hear their story and really listen to them. They need someone to empathize with them – to understand where they are coming from – not just tell them how to fix it or what they need to do. After my husband’s death, I realized how much I could empathize with widows, family survivors of suicide and domestic violence survivors. I wanted to be heard and I wanted to let others know they are being heard too. When people feel validated and heard, they know they matter. They know they are not alone. They know that someone cares for them and is willing to hear their side of the story, right or wrong, agree or disagree. When they don’t feel heard and validated, they feel alone, isolated and unimportant. A person who feels alone, isolated and unimportant is going to make some very bad decisions, up to and including possibly ending their life. What if you could be that listening ear? What if you could save a life?
We All Have Faults but Evil is Something Else
I will ring the bell loud on this one – I have plenty of faults. I have learned over the years what those are and how they snare me at times. Every human on this planet has faults. Now let me point out there is a difference between a fault and evil tendencies. Evil is the purposeful hurting of someone else for selfish gain or pleasure. A fault is something we are usually blind to, something in ourselves we can’t see. As you can see, a big difference between the two. This is where we have to be able to distinguish between the two and use good judgement. Is this person trying to purposely hurt me or are they really blind to this behavior problem or thought pattern? You will know. If it’s a fault, a blind spot they can’t see, you will usually see heartfelt change and repentance. If it is evil, you will see no desire to change and no remorse. We need to be patient with people’s faults and gently help them see them. I know I’ve been thankful for patience with my fault from friends and family. However, we do not have to be patient with evil nor can we counsel it away. Do you see the difference here? I will borrow the famous quote by Alexander Pope and add a little Elizabeth: To err is human, to forgive divine, but to tolerate evil is another thing entirely.
Thank you Lord for eyes that see, ears that hear and a heart that loves!
Until next time,