True Love Is Never Blind   2 comments

We humans are deeply flawed.  The Bible calls it sin, the evil and brokenness that infests our whole world, right down to the roots of our own heart.  It not only distorts our hearts, but our minds, our volition, our self-understanding… it taints every part of who we are.  One of the primary ways this plays out is to make each of us the center of our own universe, both perceptually and morally.  We have a default to justify ourselves while blaming others.

Self justification may at first glance seem like self compassion, being on my own side, but it is really a Trojan horse, the gift that keeps on taking, because it is rejection of the truth, and that never leads to health and strength.  Fleeing our shame makes us no freer than the prison escapee who is running for his life.  Our only hope is to embrace our shame, our failings, our faults, with the arms of grace, to openly confess our flaws from within the safety of God’s unconditional love.

I’m sorry to say that I often find it easier to see the failing of others than my own, and to then fault them for it as a moral flaw.  But fixing that tendency to blame others by trying instead to justify them leads to equal disorder in our minds and hearts and relationships.  Grace ceases to be grace when it avoids the truth.  Being generous-minded (assuming the best rather than the worst) certainly has its place, especially if our default is to blame (as mine sadly is), but our aim is to seek out what is true, not what is nice.  Flattery is deadly, especially when it is sincere.

Our response to our parents often falls into this unfortunate dichotomy–we either blame them or exonerate them, justify ourselves or justify them, and both responses are equally damaging.  In the complexity of processing through our emotional entanglements, we will likely go through stages of both blaming and justifying, I certainly did, but these should never be an end in themselves.  We seek to know ourselves through the dynamics of our early upbringing so as to find truth and freedom in which to grow forwards.  Things need to be unlearned or re-organized or re-evaluated or put into perspective.  Getting stuck in blame or justification cuts off true transformation.

One key tool in growing into a gracious outlook towards others is to separate the impact of someone’s behavior from its sinfulness.  To say that my father or mother impacted me in a certain way is quite distinct from saying that they are to blame.  They may have been doing the best they could.  We do not ultimately know what internal resources they did or did not have, the motivations for their choices, and so on.  “To his own Master he stands or falls.”  However, we have the emotional and spiritual obligation to carefully evaluate behavior as itself beneficial or harmful, otherwise we will mindlessly carry on those relational patterns into our own families by adopting them or by reactively adopting their opposite.


Posted June 25, 2016 by janathangrace in thoughts

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2 responses to “True Love Is Never Blind

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  1. Another key tool to a gracious outlook maybe thankfulness. While we are never thankful for sin,we know every person will have shortfalls. Shortcomings in our family’s and the pain and difficulty of those shortcomings in light of God’s sovereignty have produced in us brokeness,perseverance, resiliency, humility many things we wouldn’t have if we had ‘perfect parents’.I remember walking through the woods at CBC and telling God how unfair my family situation was.He reminded me that he was my Father, and nothing has come my way without passing through His hands.I remember that as a significant encounter with God in my life.A short testimony book I just read did not minimize or cause me to ignore a father wound or ignore family weaknesses but rather put them in perspective.( :// Great testimony.
    Thanks Kent for sharing, it usually causes good, healthy introspection.
    As a father of 4 I am beginning to understand this quote more than ever-‘Children begin by loving their parents,as they grow older they judge them; sometimes they forgive them.’-Oscar Wilde

    • Trust is SO essential to moving forward in our journey. Trusting God’s love to carry us, heal us, use our past in ways that bring good to ourselves and others. Without hope, at least a smidgen of it, all our incentive to keep going is snuffed out, and our hope is grounded in faith that God is out for our best. I find sometimes that alone is the highest my faith can reach… to blindly move forward in the pain and anguish and confusion, trusting that God holds me in his loving hands. If by “thankfulness” you mean that it is helpful to remember how God has brought about good from our pain, I wholeheartedly agree. I need to remember to more often consciously reflect on those things, so thanks for reminding us. Unfortunately, this society has often tried to guilt us into thankfulness as a means to cork our honest sharing about our pain. In my experience, thankfulness that is imposed to limit or abort our expressions of pain is damaging rather than healing. Gratitude (or other expressions of faith) should complement and complete our groans rather than stifle them.

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