Warning: there is some language in this post. I'm using it to prove a point, but if it offends you I encourage you not to read on.
Sound harsh? I know with absolute certainty that my parents are cringing if they read the previous line, but as it is a harsh word I find it appropriate.
Paul used similarly harsh diction in Philippians 3:8 when he described his own works: rubbish, filth, shit.
I on the one hand I apologize for the profanity, on the other I want to honor the extremity of the word. People are ugly, fitly, disgusting. They speak beautiful word with their lips yet hate you; they speak harsh words and murder you; they manipulate, fail to understand, put themselves first. They are no different than I am. I murder with a glance, I give not grace with my words, I destroy that which God created with a syllable because I believe myself to be the highest authority.
I am shit.
Again I apologize.
Yet I don't because it's what I am.
The older I get the more I realize just how deeply imbedded sin is within me. To my very core I (and everyone around me) am utterly selfish. I treat others well because it will make them like me, I do good for the praise, I strive for godliness because it just might attract a man worthy of my time, because I am the guiding line for what is good and holy and right and obviously anyone would be lucky to have me on their side; I am a worm and not a man (Psalm 22:6)! Yet I am not despised because, like those on Capitol Hill, I pour layer upon layer of lies to invent myself and make you see me a certain way.
I am often a white washed cup (Matthew 23:27), clean on the outside but leaning toward the ways of death on the outside.
This realization is the only way I can love others. Why? Because people (me included) suck. We treat one another as peasants, believing ourselves always to be justified in our actions, always to be the heroes, the protagonists of the story, when, in reality, we are the supporting actors, the extras, the one our glorious LORD has allowed to be part of the story.
If I focus on others I will absolutely despair because they are like me; riddled with sin. And yet, if I focus on the Creator of this around me, of the One Who redeemed me from the pit, that is when I can love others fully.
And why is that?
Because "we love, because He first loved us." (1 John 4:19)
If this is true then even our most vile offender can be loved.
If this is true we are merely offenders choosing to love other offenders.
If this is true, we can let go of vengeance and trust the God of justice.
If this is true, we can love each other even when we suck.
LORD, soften my hardened heart to fellow sinners. May the imputed righteousness of Christ bring forth an abundance of love and mercy towards others, no matter how they wrong me.