I’m warning you now—you are not going to like this blog post.
This blog post is not filled with politeness or political correctness. It is not filled with flattery or superficial clichés that are meant to keep you comfortable. It is not a “feel good” post to boost your self-confidence, and it is not a post that will stroke your ego. This post is meant to tear you apart from the inside out.
You will not like this post because it will convict you, it will hold you accountable, and it will force you to look at yourself in a way that might offend you. So if you dare… read on.
Firstly, go stand in front of your bathroom mirror and take a long and hard look at yourself. Don’t just look at your physique—look deep. What do you see? Who do you see? Do you see any shred of pride, fear, jealousy, judgement, hatred, or bitterness? Do you see any animosity, resentment, greed, unforgiveness, deceit, or selfishness? Do you see self-righteousness or maybe even self-pity? Is there a single imperfection within you? Even a tiny sliver of wrongness? Think about your answer—then wait…
Wait for the realization to kick in.
The realization that you, my friend, are not a perfect person. The realization that no matter how good you may think you are, you are still not good enough to reach the standard of perfection. Wait for the realization that you have flaws and that you’ve made your fair share of mistakes. The realization that maybe—just maybe—you are a part of the problem. And if you think that last sentence was harsh, then you’ll have to go back to the mirror and look again—because you probably didn’t stare long enough. Stare until the cold, hard, and ugly truth becomes the only thing staring back at you. Then wait…
Wait for the moment when you realize that your actions and your words and your behavior are (and have always been) your responsibility—no one else’s. Wait for the realization that you are the only person liable for what flows out of your heart, your mind, and your mouth. You are responsible for the words that slip so eloquently and/or so carelessly off of your tongue. You are responsible for the selfless and/or self-centered deeds performed by your hands and your feet every single day. You are responsible for the way you treat the people all around you—from the plumber who fixes your toilet to the person who pays your salary.
So once we’ve stripped ourselves down to the naked core of who we really are—what do we do next?
We can change. We can repent. We can start over. We can forgive. We can love.
We can stop attacking each other, and we can start building each other up. We can stop dividing people by race, gender, and skin color—and we can start coming together as one race of human beings. We can stop judging each other for the mistakes we’ve made, and we can start forgiving each other because everyone has messed up at least once in their lifetime. We can stop hating each other because of our differences, and we can start loving and appreciating each other for our strengths. We can stop seeing each other as threats, and we can start seeing each other as family. And it starts with you—and it starts with me.
Yes, we are imperfect and flawed human beings, but that doesn’t make us useless. We all have the opportunity to make a difference—but the difference has to start inside of us first. The change has to begin within the boundaries of our own hearts before it can begin in the world around us. Start small. Respect your parents, love your wife, forgive the guy who cut you off in traffic, apologize when you’ve done something wrong, tell the truth, show compassion, and don’t compromise your integrity at any cost. It will require humility and honesty. It will require vulnerability and transparency. But it will be worth it.
Now here’s the part that you’re going to hate the most. You won’t be able to make lasting change on your own. You will fail and fall, and your ability to love will be limited if you try to fight this battle in your own strength—because as we have already established, no one is perfect.
But there is Someone who is perfect and who knows how to love perfectly, and He wants to fight for you and with you. He is Someone who knows the dark truth about how filthy your heart is, He knows how many mistakes you’ve actually made, and He knows about all of the hurts that you’ve had to face. And guess what—despite all of those inadequacies—He understands and He loves you anyway. In fact, there isn’t a person on this earth He doesn’t love. He’s the One who can give you the power to forgive others, to overcome adversity, and to love your enemies. He’s the One who can show you how to be humble in a world full of arrogance and selfish ambition, and He’s the only One who can save us from ourselves.
His name is Jesus—and I want you to know something. His goodness and mercy and love is not defined by His followers. His followers are flawed and His followers will let you down—so do not put your trust or your hope in them. Follow Him, and let your trust be rooted in the truth of who He really is. He is the only One who won’t let you down when everyone and everything around you seem to be falling apart. He’s the only One who can give you peace and freedom in a world obsessed with keeping it’s inhabitants locked up in bondage. Nothing is to hard for Him.
So give it a shot. Look at yourself in the mirror, and risk taking off the mask. Expose yourself to the raw truth of what might be hidden within the confines your heart, and dare to chase after the light… following it wherever it may lead you.
“For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”