The proverbs of Solomon, King David’s son, from Israel: 2 Their purpose is to teach wisdom and discipline, to help one understand wise sayings. 3 They provide insightful instruction, which is righteous, just, and full of integrity. 4 They make the naive mature, the young knowledgeable and discreet. 5 The wise hear them and grow in wisdom; those with understanding gain guidance. 6 They help one understand proverbs and difficult sayings, the words of the wise, and their puzzles. 7 Wisdom begins with the fear of the Lord, but fools despise wisdom and instruction. Proverbs 1:1-7, CEB
We’re familiar with the “good” testimony. We’ve talked about this many times. It’s a narrative that goes like this: I was once lost, now I’m found, now I’m fine.
What would it look like to assume another person is doing the best they can and still struggling with a particular issue? Can we accept such a person just as they are?
A friend told me recently that in his group of friends people play favorites. This is true of every kind of group. You always have preferences. You always have people you get along with better than others. But he was saying that some people will actively avoid others or bad-mouth them behind their backs or whatever, simply because they have some problems. They’ve had these problems for a long time and they’re not getting better. And so, we’d rather avoid them.
That’s certainly understandable. I know exactly what that’s like and I’ve done it myself loads of times. It’s hard to be a legitimately decent friend. When I look back at the times where I’ve done this, I see a person who is more willing to accept his own shortcomings than other people’s. I’m perfectly content to live with my imperfections. I’m even content to ask other people to live with them. But do I want to be bothered with someone else’s? No. They should be better by now…right?
Wrong. We’re not always getting better. I’m not always getting better…and yet I’m still committed to my faith. It’s a paradox. If I’m okay with that paradox in myself, then I certainly should accept that paradox in someone else…right?
I don’t have the “good” testimony…why should I expect others to have it?