Graciousness is for Growth

Wonder why you’re conflicted? Actually, I think it’s a sign of growth.

It starts when we are little–about 18 months old–and we realize we can go away from Mommy. I am separate. I am another person!

And I run away–into the other room even. And sometimes I can stay away a whole 30 minutes before I have to run back and make sure Mommy is still there where I left her. If I come back and can’t find her, I start to get panicky.

Individuation, as it’s called, is a life-long process. We have to separate from our parents, our family, and our system to grow up. Becoming autonomous is very important to maturity–the opposite of codependency: What do I think? What do I believe? as opposed to, What do they think?

And herein lies conflict. We have a developmental task to become us–autonomous, separate, individual, and so it should be, no two of us are the same. But then we grow up to discover that we are completely dependent on God for life!

A fact that’s hard for some of us to believe and accept. And yet if you pull back the curtain and don’t doctor history, it isn’t hard to see. We are part of entropy. We tend toward disorganization and decay, even though we fight it. We are all dying–some of us faster than others. So unless God calls us friend, and rescues us from it, it’s over when your heart stops.

Even if we don’t fight each other (which we most always do), we’re fighting dependency. Am I strong enough to disagree? Will there be a fight? Will they retaliate? Will they leave if I say what I think? Will they still like me? love me? Maybe it’s safer to keep quiet.

Or the other side: Can I love you when you are so different from me? When you disagree with me? When you don’t honor my point-of-view? won’t even hear it? possibly can’t?

What do you do with that? How can you reconcile such disparate and conflicting needs? You can’t just take on other people’s beliefs and grow.

We are never going to think the same about everything. We aren’t built that way.  We don’t do well in isolation either; we need each other.

But we can learn to accept that we are all broken–all mistake makers–all dependent on God first, for love and security. And we can carry on learning to listen, respect, and disagree graciously.

But doesn’t God demand compliance? Don’t we have to agree with Him on everything if we are His friend?

No! He only insists on two things: that you love love (as opposed to hate and destruction) and that you agree He is God and you are not. Inside of that you will never run out of possibilities for differences.

If no two people are alike, or think alike, what are the chances that God is threatened by differences? I don’t think there is any chance.

I believe God wants us to grow up–and that means differences. He obviously loves variety.

If you subscribe, as I do, to the belief that God is NOT both good and evil, but that He is all good, then force is not part of His character. He can love you wildly, and still honor your choice to walk away forever–even knowing you will lose everything…

So sometimes He allows evil to show us it’s true nature to let us know choices are important.

He does, however insist on graciousness, even when setting firm boundaries. It’s how He can tolerate so much difference. As long as you aren’t supporting death and destruction, you’re good, and your differences are all good and welcome. He will listen.

He will even teach us how to be gracious so we can allow differences without wanting to kill each other.

But that might be why He set the lifespan at 120! For some, it might take that long.

 

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Filed under Becoming real, Love ed, Loved, Mental Health, Respect and disrespect, Uncategorized, What is God like?

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