I fully agree with Tolstoy; “Everyone thinks of changing the world but no one thinks of changing himself.”
Initially, I touched on the influence of these virtues on the self; the results of introspection. But navel gazing never got anyone anywhere. However crucial it may be to begin change in the self, it is just as vital that those alterations exceed their first boundaries. Recognizing failure with a willingness to change is not enough. This kind of honest recognition in ourselves fosters the same in our view of people. We often triumph at the recognition part, but fail in honesty. As I said, we injure others constantly with calculated insults and cynical evaluations. Their sins are apparent, but then so are ours. Cynicism and judgment nourish pride. Honesty and humility nurture love. Sincere recognition of the self cultivates forbearance towards the lapses of others, for those lapses serve as a mirror. Often when we find ourselves slighted by a friend, acquaintance, or even someone we have never met, “Be the bigger person,” is the common advice. I will argue against that. When misjudged or insulted, we should remind ourselves, “I am the same insignificant size as my oppressor.” Sin reveals our need for another righteousness, whether that be our sin or someone else’s. Sin levels the playing field of all peoples. Christ redeems that field. Fyodor Dostoevsky said is best, “To love someone means to see him as God intended him.”
We often first see sin and failures, however scripture challenges us to see with the eyes of God. When God gazes at His children, He is confronted with the righteousness of Christ. When we gaze upon our brothers and sisters, we are to see the same. When we gaze upon unbelievers, we are to be reminded of our condition apart from Christ’s merits, and humbly love them as Christ adored us.
Honesty and brokenness are merits outside of my grasp. So I will pray; Lord change how I love, and change how I see. I trust God will grant them both in His grace.
Books are great. I love them, probably more than most human beings. But my favorite part about books, the really good ones that have been read over and over, are the notes between the lines & the scribbles in the margins. That is when that book became real for someone, thats is when a sentence or word or thought struck them. Everyone's life reads like a book. There is a beginning, a middle, and an end. There are key milestones along the way, but the defining moments, the rare and beautiful, happen in the margins. I am going to write my margin notes here, every day, for the next 365 days.