Monday, July 26, 2004

Have you ever had everything you ever thought, every action, and every pattern of doing things that you thought was normal or true brought into question?  Not by anyone else....but by your self.  When I was a teenager, one of my teachers once said,  "The more you learn, the more you realize how much you really don't know."  I would say this applies to wisdom as well.  Actually, its the wisdom you gain that enlightens your understanding, your understanding of how much you really don't understand. 
       In the last couple of weeks, I have questioned everything I could possibly believe about life: my actions, my thoughts, my responses to situations, and my beliefs in how the world should be.  I thought that all these things, ...I knew.  But, now I am starting to realize that they are all  reactions to the experiences I have faced.  I have seen life and goodness, through each struggle, each wound,  each pain, and each happy moment.   And from them, I have begun to formulate my beliefs on the way  relationships (interactions with others) work: my thoughts on what is right, my thoughts how I treat others, and my thoughts on what others deserve, and my thoughts on who I am.  We, as humans, learn to survive through the things we encounter.  They begin to shape everything about us.  And then there are things that we experience, that are horrible to us.  Things that are blatantly wrong.  We tell ourselves that we will never become like that.  And yet I have found that the longer we run from those experiences, the faster we find ourselves becoming what we never wanted.
     Sometimes, I wish, I could take all those experiences and throw them out the door or have a brain disfunction where hurtful memories were alway forgotten.  I wish I could forget and live like they never were.  It would be so much easier, to love those who I find it hard to love. It would be easier, to give my heart in situations that it is hard to trust.  It would be easier to give to others though they are takers.  And it would be so much easier to believe the promises God gave us about who we are instead of believing what the World tells us we aren't.    
But,.....I can't throw those experience out.  Life does not give us that option.  God does not give us that option.   Our lives will forever be filled with one understanding, "People will always fail us".  And it is what we learn from that, that directs our lives.  
    I was taught,  "Do unto others, as you would have them do unto you".   However, what I was modeled, by society, was, "Do unto others, as they have done unto you".   And because there is so much brokenness in this world, we see justice more perversely.  We begin to think solely of the justice due us.  The Brokenness clouds our understanding and then we begin to give others advice, reflecting our clouded understanding.  Instead of helping another become a better person, we say they are justified in the actions they took when wronged.  We somehow begin to believe that our character is still good though it changes to meet the demands of any given situation.  We say we are not envious of others, but then some how we get excited when they face hardship.  We say we are not racist, but find it okay to be mean to another race when they have jaded us first.  We say we love all people, but find it okay to say horrible things to the ones we care about when they hurt us.
   Character, I am realizing, does not change.  A person either has good character or bad character.  And if ever your character changes, then you never had good character.  We might have characteristics about ourselves that seem good and are good, but what happens when we are faced with situations where we feel wronged?  A person with good character reacts in the same way with their friends as with those who have wronged them.   We have grace, mercy, and understanding for others in our happy situations.  Why do those "gifts" overflow when it is easy for us, but dry up when the situation is not so happy?
   I am beginning to learn that who I am should not change.  I am to love every person regardless of what they have done to me.  I am to have patience with people regardless of how much patience they show me.  And I am to respect others, though they may not respect me.  People will always fail us, but that does not mean we aren't suppose to show them grace, mercy, peace, and love...