I really hate acknowledging my flaws. It is laying myself out there to be vulnerable to other people who, in turn, can use those flaws against me. But that is the risk of being vulnerable.
One of the things I find frustrating about myself is when I look at someone judgmentally, I expect that when it’s their turn to look at me, they will do so with a tad bit of grace “Vulnerability is the last thing I want you to see in me, but the first thing I look for in you,” as Brene Brown wrote in her book Daring Greatly.I expect great things of others all the while never holding myself up to those same standards.
Sitting in my first ever large group recovery meeting, surrounded by people dealing with their own stuff was an interesting experience for me. People openly sharing about what they are struggling with, dealing with…the mess they are in. And yet, there wasn’t any judgement. As I started down my own journey of understanding my dysfunctions, hurts and habits, someone very wise told me that “it doesn’t matter what everyone else is dealing with- control, pride, alcohol, sex or drugs- everyone’s stuff weighs the same.”
When we begin to realize that their is no hierarchy as to who is more messed up than us or who has sinned more than us, we remove the judgement and start to replace it with grace. We see them (and maybe more importantly, ourselves) as human. Again, humanity is a high value of mine.
This goes along with something I recently read in Brene Brown’s latest book, Rising Strong, in which she puts it far more succinctly. She states that people, no matter what dysfunction or perceived health they are operating in, are simply living the best way they know how at the moment. Be it the politician spewing hatred about other religions or the religious fanatic who believes killing is the only way to “heaven;” the person who looks like they have the whole world at their fingertips but is dying inside to the other stealing a loaf of bread from the store because they haven’t had enough money to eat in weeks; they are only doing the best they know how. Without allowing the Spirit to examine our lives and walking through the pain to hand over lordship to Christ, we can never experience, nor expect, full healing. If we’ve never understood what it is that Christ has done for us and having courage to make amends for wrongs we’ve committed, we can never understand forgiveness. We cannot fully live in freedom.
If we are able to come to a place where we see other as doing the best we can, grace can come much easier. When we look at each other in grace suddenly we see them as human. We see ourselves as human. We are able to accept the grace God has given us. And we are much more able to show compassion. I am in no way implying that it will no longer be a struggle nor grace will always be the first response, but grace will more easily come if we stop and remember that they are human…just like we are.
Our perspective on our neighbors, family members, co-workers, other ethnicities and other cultures will begin to change as we see each other through the lens of grace. Grace brings freedom, love and empathy. Judgement brings bondage, worry, fear and hatred. My prayer for each of us is see others through a lens of grace more and more each day.
Do you have a story of how you’ve experienced judgement and grace? What was the outcome of each? May you be blessed as we grow in Christ.