Beth Armstrong

Christian wife, mom, & author. Doing life with my eyes fixed on Jesus. I walk, I stumble, I fall. But God is big. And this is what I write about… Thanks for stopping by!

Archive for the tag “flawed”

ISSUES EXIST…LOVE ENDURES

I have issues. It bugs me when people stand really close to me. I don’t like people messing with my hair. It drives me crazy when, in an empty public restroom with a dozen open stalls, the next person in chooses the stall right next to me.

Like I said…I have issues.

I have bigger issues than the ones I mentioned above, however. I’m stubborn—and it’s not easy to overcome. I’m arrogant—and it’s a daily battle within me to keep my ego in check. I don’t have a stellar bank account or the perfect marriage. And my kids are on pace to be every bit as flawed as their mother. Oh joy!

Like I said…I have issues. I’m not proud of them. I’m not flaunting them. I wish I didn’t have them. But the truth is I struggle with them just like you struggle with yours.

Everybody has issues.

Your friend has issues. She’s insecure as all get out. Your spouse has issues. He/she is arrogant, insensitive, and controlling. Your co-worker has issues. She’s overbearing and doesn’t let you get a word in edgewise. Your neighbor has issues. He lies constantly. You wonder why he feels the need to do that. The lady in your bible study has issues. She’s got a root of bitterness bigger than Dallas, but hides it as best she can. Your nephew has issues. He’s into pornography, but doesn’t see the harm in it.

Everybody has issues. And issues present us with an interesting enigma.

The question is, can you see past my issues? Can you overlook your co-worker’s issues? Can you embrace your neighbor despite his issues? Can you be kind to the lady in your bible study regardless of her issues? Can you get along with your friend even though she has issues?

Here’s what I have found to be true in this interesting enigma: issues exist…but love endures. At least a Christ-like love does.

Issues Exist Love EnduresJesus loved His disciples—all quirky, ill-equipped and flawed twelve of them. I don’t know if that was easy for Him or not. My guess is He wore thin of patience with a few every now and then because you know what? They had issues. Jesus loved Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. Maybe they were easier to love than His disciples. But Martha certainly had issues, and Jesus brought those into light.

Jesus also loved the rich young man who ended up walking away from Him—materially wealthy, but eternally bankrupt. Ouch!

Jesus had compassion on all sorts of people who had all sorts of issues. He hung out with sinful people. He touched “unclean” people. He embraced the ones who were far from perfect. He did life with people who were self-absorbed, broken, messed up, whacked out, and didn’t buy what Jesus was selling.

They had issues. They had struggles. They had challenges. They had problems. They had difficulties. Their lives were not pretty little packages wrapped up with pretty little bows. And truth be told, neither are ours.

Can we have compassion like Jesus did on others who have issues? Can we hang out with people like Jesus did who are far from perfect? Can we do life with people like Jesus did who have hang-ups, problems, and struggles? Can we embrace people like Jesus did who don’t even acknowledge Jesus?

Can we love like Jesus? Regardless…in spite of…even though…
Issues exist. Love endures.
Go love like Jesus!

 

EVERYBODY IS A “SCRATCH-AND-DENT” MODEL

Several years ago, when we were remodeling one of our bathrooms, we looked all over for new vanity tops. The prices were a little more than what we wanted to spend. In one particular store, however, they had a “scratch-and-dent” section that had various items you could purchase “as-is.” Some items were really broken, others had slight flaws. We ended up buying one of these “as-is” vanity tops that had two tiny, minor chips in it. And you know what? We were totally okay with our “as-is,” scratch-and-dent, slightly flawed purchase.

The “scratch-and-dent” section is where all of us belong, don’t you think? Don’t we all have flaws, and scars, and quirks? Don’t we all screw up and make huge mistakes and have moments of weakness?

Think about it…going clear back to the book of Genesis, people were messed up:

  • Adam and Eve broke the cardinal rule of fruit-eating.
  • Cain killed his brother Adam.
  • Noah got drunk.
  • Abraham lied about his wife being his sister.
  • David committed adultery.
  • Elijah was depressed and wanted to die.
  • Peter chopped a guy’s ear off.

While it’s true that each of us would agree that we are “as is” people, it’s also true that it’s really hard to accept that others are as well. While I may be quite flawed, I expect you to be quite flawless. While I may have many imperfections, I expect other people in my life to be perfect. And when your flaws and weaknesses show—more precisely, when you let me down or make me angry because of them—let the judgment begin.

John Ortberg once said, “One of the great marks of maturity is to accept the fact that everybody comes ‘as-is.’” Everybody is a “scratch-and-dent” model. All of us. Every…last…one. “There’s not one totally good person on earth, not one who is truly pure and sinless” (Ecclesiastes 7:20, MSG).

Knowing this truth helps us understand a couple of things. First, we figure out pretty quickly that I’m not better than you, and you’re not better than me. We’re equally messed up. Second, we understand that because of our sinful selves, we will blow it with each other. We will let each other down. We will make each other angry. And last, but certainly not least, is the truth that though we all come “as is,” God loves us anyway.

I agree with the great country singer Kenny Chesney who sang, we are “a little messed up, but we’re all alright.” And I think he’d agree that we all come “as-is.”

I guess part of me wants to say, “I wear my ‘as-is’ sign proudly.” But the other part of me wants to say, “I don’t want to use my ‘as-is’ sign as an excuse to let you down or make you angry.”

So, here’s the deal…I will work at rising up in my maturity to embrace the “as-is” parts of you, if you’ll work at embracing the “as-is” parts of me. After all, Peter–the guy who cut someone’s ear off on a whim–later wrote, “Most of all, love each other steadily and unselfishly…” (1 Peter 4:8, The VOICE).

Love…
Steadily…
Unselfishly…
That includes all “scratch-and-dent” models…

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