The fall, the fall, oh God the fall of man
The fruit is found in every eye and every hand
Nothing there is nothing yet in truest form
We walk like ghost upon the earth, the ground in groans
The big question on my mind lately is how do you love people knowing they’re human and will fail you. This may seem pessimistic, but as a human, I’ve failed more times than I count. And people have failed me. It all goes back to humanity. The fruit is found in every eye and every hand. We all have shortcomings. We all have failures.
I spent a good portion of yesterday praying for children from ages 4-14–the prime window for children to become Christians. I prayed against sex trafficking, unstable families, child soldiers, poverty, crimes and disease. Our world is evil. Humanity is not basically good. I don’t care what people want to believe of themselves. No matter how much good you try to do, you will fail. And in failing you will let someone down. Now the consequences of this ranges from mild disappointment to death. So yes, some failures will happen. And no that doesn’t make you a “bad person.” It makes you human. But humanity is imperfect. Everyone of us is corrupt.
Now this isn’t a tirade about how terrible the world is. This is hope. Because God is not human. And as Holy Being, He has resisted corruption. His Son put on human flesh and managed to resist corruption for 30 years. Something no human has ever done before or since. Ever. We can’t. I can’t resist corruption for a single day.
So after grieving the loss of ideals I held dear to me because of on person failing me beyond cancelling plans or even harsh criticism. Because I was hurt, my world shattered. But that was because my ideals, my core, was built upon the notion that I could have the perfect life in this world. I always thought that the Cinderella happily ever after could be attained. Just add a Prince. I of course knew of the realities of life, but with a good husband, certainly that could be nothing. I could face anything with my God and my husband–once he arrived on the scene.
So what happens when even the idea of marriage seemed terrifying. What happens when I no longer wanted to marry. Sure, I still had God, but how does that help me in the human world? Spiritual hugs are great, but it isn’t a physical hug. The physical world is fact. It exists. The spiritual world exists too, but it’s not a proof to be put into language. It is felt, it is known, but it isn’t proven. What I wanted was physical and present. And God understands that, “Then the man said,
“This at last is bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called Woman,
because she was taken out of Man.”[i]
24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” Genesis 2:23-24.
We are created to be social. We are created to be physical. C.S. Lewis writes in Mere Christianity that, “We are not begotten by God, we are only made by Him: in our natural state we are not Sons of God, only (so to speak) statues. We have not got the Zoe or spiritual life: only Bios or biological life which is presently going to run down and die” (177). What he means is that apart from God, we are simply physical beings–statues. We have our allotted time of beauty and then we crumble and die away. This is not the point he is trying to make, but I believe it to be true nonetheless, we have trouble believing the spiritual world is as real as the physical. Though it certainly is very real, because of our corruptness, our unholiness, we cannot see it as so.
The hope that is in me then, is simply this: that humanity is without a doubt corrupt. It has been since the Fall. Trust and hope was never meant to be given to others. Not that we should only look out for ourselves and never allow people to do anything for us. That is not what I’m saying at all. It’s just that in the midst of the imperfections and failure, I serve a God who doesn’t fail. Not only that, but He gives grace freely when I do fail. That grace allows me to forgive even the most heinous of crimes. Even the ones that change my outlook on life and shatter my dreams. That grace allows me to be forgiven. Even when I commit heinous crimes. Even the ones that change others’ outlook on life and shatter their dreams.
I know that humanity is corrupt. And that, somehow, allows me to love again. I will hurt others, and I will be hurt. But that’s no reason not to love. If anything that is a reason to love more. Because those who hurt me are wounded in their own way. They need my love more because they have hurt me. My brother recently speculated that God gives more grace to those who need it most. I hope that’s true, I think it is. Because no sane person would think these thoughts on their own. Hurt does not trigger an automatic response to love. Unless grace has abounded. Unless healing is taking place.
It’s not a cure-all. Loving when you’re hurt doesn’t remove the pain. I will always carry these scars. My ideals will never be the same, though they might be partially rebuilt and modified. But it’s not for me to cower though I may want to. It’s not for me to build a fortress around my heart so that no one hurts me again. It’s the decision to love in spite of all instincts telling me to the contrary. It’s being vulnerable (not stupid), but vulnerable and using that to minister to others. It won’t be an easy road to walk. But life is painful. It’s been that way since the Fall. There will never be a time when humans won’t fail this side of heaven. There are only 2 options: human failure can mutilate you or mold you.
I choose mold.