Monday, February 14, 2011

The Mutual Sickos We Really Are

If those who don’t understand our suffering never see it, they never will understand it. 
I know it is painful to expose suffering, but please don’t rob others of the only way for them to understand - unless doing so really is beyond your current ability. If that is the case, increase your ability through becoming more Christ-like - then expose them to it again so they can have another chance to understand.

“Life is pain, Highness,” carries much more import and power than comes across in the movie. Too many of us cover our warts, because we assume nobody else is as hideous as we are - because the make-up they apply to hide theirs works better than ours. I wonder how many others around us in the pews have warts they are hiding, as well - because they are sure we don’t have any and are scared of being seen as hideous by us. What a vicious cycle.

Again, I know it is painful (incredibly so, sometimes) to remove the make-up and go out in public amid the perfectly coifed in our jammies and hair rollers - but sometimes letting others see our warts is the only way to help others reveal theirs. We can’t help each other heal until we collectively recognize and admit our illness - until we see each other as the mutual sickos we really are.


Matthew said...

This is so dead on, Ray. We hide from each other because of pride, and as a result, we end up separate and alone - the exact opposite of Zion. We can't be of one mind and one heart until we are willing to and able to open up our minds and our hearts to our fellow saints.

This is difficult because of the vulnerability that occurs when we do that. It is often hard to trust that much, and harder to deal with trust betrayed.

I wish I had more insight to offer.

Michelle said...

I've felt this way for so long, and yet when I discuss it, it really does end up being a catch-22. Some people have tried to show their warts and they get punished for it, because sometimes people don't know how to even look at warts at all.

But I agree that when we can open up our hearts more, we can have our hearts be more knitted together in love.

How do you think we can do this, Ray? How can we create places that are safe enough to do this? Sometimes it's not just pride, but fear and pain that cause us to hide from each other.

Papa D said...

I agree that pride a big factor for many, but I think michelle is spot-on that fear is just as big an issue. Many people have exposed their warts (or a particular wart) in the past, and the result has not been good.

There also is a conflation of mistakes, weaknesses, transgressions, tendencies, etc. with SIN - and, since sin isn't something we confess openly in our culture generally, it can be hard for people to feel like they are confessing sin when, in reality, they simply would be exposing weakness. There's a difference between all of us being sick and weak and even "sinners" and someone viewing herself as a SINNER. I'm just not certain if there's an easy way to teach the first without it being heard as the second - especially for those who struggle with self-worth already.

I wish I had an answer for every situation, but it might boil down to nothing more than an open acknowledgment that every single one of us has them and that it's ok to expose them. Perhaps it needs to start with the "strong" opening up and sharing theirs openly, which is something I've been considering and pondering lately.

Even that won't eliminate the natural tendency to ridicule blemishes, but it's a start.

Matthew said...

Thanks for what you said about fear being a reason as well, Michelle, I missed that in my comment and I appreciate your gentle reminder.

Michelle said...

Ray, I think that we can try to model sharing weakness and even sin, in appropriate ways and places. I've tried to do this with my chronic health and anxiety issues. I think it helps people to hear others be vulnerable.

But I do think that the deep core of this comes down to really seeking to be converted. When we really learn to lean on Christ in our weakness and sin, what others think matters less. That's a big deal and not something that comes in a day, but true doctrine, understood, is the surest way to have behavior change.

Zion ultimately comes from conversion, I think. So another thing we can do, perhaps, is to continue to work on coming to Christ as individuals and testifying of Him -- esp in context of these things. That He's not just there someday in eternity ready to bless and help and heal, but that He can help us NOW, with whatever we may struggle with.

Papa D said...

Amen, michelle. AMEN!