- I have lied, but I am not a liar
- I have been afraid, but I am not a coward
- I have experienced failure, but I am not a failure
- I have been battered and bruised, but I have healed.
- My heart has been broken, but it is whole.
I once told a woman to quit acting like a bitch. Not a good word at all, but to this day, the description of her behavior was accurate. I hoped it was not indicative of her character, but a challenge to align her behavior with what I believed was her better character. I did not say she was a bitch. I did not think she wanted to be that way. I recently told someone else that their act was cowardly. I did not say they were a coward. I did not think they were a coward.
I used to joke that if my dog Lucy could tell me my zipper was down, she would be perfect. “Zipper down” was just a metaphor for calling out anything in my behavior that was inappropriate. I don’t know how many times I have walked around with my zipper down, but there have been a few times that I walked into public restrooms and found it was already down.
Ugh! If only I had someone in my life that would call me out on what I don’t see in myself.
I want someone to call me out if anything in my behavior does not align with my faith, goals, and dreams. One’s motive and inspiration for the callout is critical. Do they really care? Do they enjoy seeing the stumble? Are they trying to feel better about themselves? Is their interest based in concern for the well-being of the other?
Calling someone out on their inappropriate behavior loses its impact if it falls immediately after one has received a callout on their behavior. At that moment it has become a competitive list that justifies ones less than exemplary behavior. I prefer to look at a callout as a chance to courageously evaluate what I did and take the opportunity to challenge myself to a higher level of behavior. Sometimes I immediately reject it, but that is not automatic. Sometimes, if it feels true, I will give it some thought. It takes courage to look at myself when I am under attack.
The bottom line is that if we evaluate ourselves by our worst moments, if we evaluate others by their worst moments, if we live our lives by our worst moments, if we continually dwell on others’ worst moments, we are missing out. We are missing out on the beauty of living in the redemption of Christ. We are missing out on the redemption that only comes from being a part of his resurrection. Living life free from our failures, free from our fears, free from our bruises, free from our heartbreaks, free from our lies, is possible. But only if we want it. We don’t have to be failures forever, we don’t have to be liars forever, we don’t have to be bruised forever, we don’t have to be permanently heartbroken, we don’t have to live in fear.
We can be true, we can be brave, we can find success, we can be strong, we can have a big strong heart. We have to know where we can get it, and it isn’t where we might think it is.
Keep searching, the answers are all around. We can be redeemed.