Our greatest fear is to have our weakness exposed to others. To avoid this horror, we pursue positive attitudes, lies, anger, defensiveness, deceit, prayer and self-righteousness.
Yes, the absence of candor is the open door to deception. And when we are dishonest about our true selves, we have the ugly by-product of prejudice, which robs us of our better nature.
Why do we become prejudiced? In order to keep the attention away from the beam sticking out of our own eye, we try to bring focus to the speck in our brother’s eye.
So I can tell you of a certainty, honesty has a little brother and its name is mercy.
Without honesty, we feel no need whatsoever to be merciful, but spend all of our time drafting plans to escape notice of our vice. And maybe it’s not even a vice–perhaps it’s just a piece of us that requires grace instead of criticism.
It is time to become reasonable.
If the Gospel of Jesus does not afford us the humanity to confess our faults one to another, then it merely is a temporary pain-killer, or worse, a dangerous diversion.
Here’s a beautiful process–maybe better phrased, a way of thinking that actually produces thought:
- I have a weakness.
- You have a weakness.
- We have weaknesses.
- Therefore, we choose mercy.
If I do not believe I have a weakness, I certainly will not tolerate your peccadilloes. And if I discover that you are weak and I am unwilling to admit my weakness, then I will focus on yours and attack you for having it.
Thus, mercy is avoided, ignored and cast aside.
A world without mercy is always a lie, ready to be prosecuted.
For it will only take you a few moments after you meet me to discover that I have weaknesses, whether I confess them or not. It will not take me any longer to uncover yours.
So the only advantage we have is to get in front of these revelations by admitting that we have weaknesses, encouraging others to make the same confession, and then humbly allowing mercy to do its healing work through understanding and the passage of time.
Nothing happens until we realize how weak we are.
Strength is not owned; it is given by humbly admitting weakness.