Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Why do we do it?

Irrational stuff that hurts each other, I mean.

Sometimes I wonder if the people of God have a built-in self destruct button, and a few that either suppress it or learn how to force their way to the top/bottom (depends how you look at it) end up in church leadership. I'm not talking about anything or anyone specific, but one of the things I see time and time again is people hurting other people unintentionally, just by doing what seems right to them at the time.

There was a phrase I came across a while back on harmony central. It was made in a non-christian context, but it sums up the sinful nature of man so well: "People are just bastard covered bastards with bastard filling".

I know there's a side to me that shows I still have some bastard filling, and there's plenty of people I know and walk with that have some too. At times, I wonder why we can't all just join together, hold each other, share our deepest hopes and aspirations, our worst fears and what hurts us deeply and then all walk forward together. Instead we seem to keep our bastard covering in place so that, even though many of us could open up, we don't.

It goes deeper than 'being nice' to each other.

There's a side in each of us that isn't changed yet, that does scream like a badly brought up child or holds us to ransom like Violet Beauregard (go read Willy Wonka). But it's so hard to love someone that just stiffed you in front of a bunch of other people, who took away something that helped you draw close to God or who exposed your weaknesses in a way that felt embarrassing (yes, I am thinking of specifics now). The fact that they may not have even meant to do it is of almost negative comfort - they crapped all over you and they didn't even notice!

Love covers a multitude of sins. It's one of the things we learn (or not) when we marry and discover our partner does all sorts of things that are intensely aggravating. Often, out of love, one or both sides will eventually just swallow it and learn to move on despite some of the feelings that have been generated. I'm talking about where both sides love each other, of course, rather than where one side is abusive and being cruel to the other because their twisted nature thinks that's how it works.

So it is with the church, often illustrated from marriage. Yes we're the bride of Christ, but we're also joined together in both a mystical and tangible way. We don't generally all have to wake up together but often we have to walk together through highly demanding and stressful situations. Stretching the metaphor slightly, I'd say we're more like syringes than toothpaste tubes. Squeeze a toothpaste tube and you'll certainly get toothpaste, but that just leaves the tube a bit thinner. But with a syringe you have to push something in at one end to get something out of the other. I wonder if (REALLY stretching things now) choosing to love in difficult situations gets a bit more love in one end and pushes some of the bastard filling out of the other?

I wonder if half the difficulty is that we don't actually see anything in each other that we think is worth the pain of loving?

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