We pass the many homes lining the streets. At a glance, they are usually still. We see the exterior boundaries that surround an unknown world inside. In the evening, early morning or during a cloudy day, we may see a light through a window. We may occasionally catch a glimpse of movement. Those exterior walls guard against intruders. They provide safety and security. All of the many surfaces of the outside are purposely positioned to protect. They are secure.
What happens inside?
There was an experience yesterday that really made me explore what goes on inside of a man. I ran into two people that were once called “friends.” Unfortunately, the front that they had shown me over the years was removed, uncovering things that have totally ruined my trust in them. One of them stopped to chat for a few minutes, and I was friendly. The other left a message, and I didn’t reply.
I wonder sometimes why people have such a hard time decorating the interior? Why do we put things that are appealing on the outside, but fail to back it up with that same appeal internally? Genuine people are sometimes hard to recognize.
There are many good things about both of these people. They are kind. They have their battles and scars just like anyone else. The real truth of the matter is their words do not line up with their actions. They have a beautiful picture for all of the world to see, but then throw all of that beauty in the trash when the repetitive ugliness is displayed. It causes a bad taste in my mouth, and makes me just as ugly as their poor choices. Maybe my tolerance is not as strong as yours? After spending much time throughout my life being just like these two people, I look at my own life a bit differently than before.
Oh, the faults that we point out in others before our own. I can see a reader or two saying that we are called to forgive, always. Or, we are supposed to be Christ-like. Yes we are. Remove the plank from my own eye? Trust me, I am fully aware.
Consider my struggle for a moment. When I am constantly around those who are lying, making me out to be a bad guy, stripping me of the love that I could be sharing, making me feel bad about myself and ripping me apart through their poor choices, am I, or is anyone, supposed to look past all of it and continue to be used? Are we supposed to let another tear down our own structure of security? Are those exterior surfaces of protection supposed to be stripped away by a constant storm within someone else? Are all of the people of the world your friend? Are you still friends with those from the past who continuously placed their hurt in your life?
So, we aren’t so Christ-like after all?
I long to be more like my Savior, each and every day. Unfortunately, my weaknesses are powerful. I have been beaten down by people for so long, and have a low tolerance for those who make no effort to recognize their hurtful ways. I have put in a lot of effort and work, building a strong supportive structure. I do my best to maintain a nice exterior, with a matching interior. A genuine home. A temple for His Spirit. I do my best to remove my own ugliness, and fill it with His goodness. When I continue to answer the door for those who will come in, spill their nastiness all over my floors, spit on the remodeling that is going on within and break a few windows before leaving, I allow their uneasiness to destroy my space.
I really do not know why the people come and go, but I do know that we have something to teach each other. I also believe that is important to find the time to pray for those who hurt, and who have hurt us. I believe it is important to protect ourselves as well. We have a relationship with God that must come first. Sometimes, when we allow people to continuously destroy us, it hinders our walk with Him. It makes our house an eyesore. It makes the windows that others look through a passageway to a dark interior. It takes the stability of the whole structure away.