I am becoming more and more aware of the rarity it is to encounter positive consistency in the world we live in. I add "positive" in front of consistency because I can think of plenty of things that can be considered consistently negative or altogether inconsistent. I am unfortunately reminded of Aldous Huxley's quote, "Consistency is contrary to nature, contrary to life. The only completely consistent people are dead". I fear that this apparently inevitable norm is at the root of all anxieties, insecurities, trust issues, and disappointments we humans experience here on earth. It is no mystery why so many people struggle with anxiety, self-esteem, or perpetually find themselves in a state of timidity. Of course there is the type of anxiety and depression that results from an imbalance in the millions of neurotransmitters that find their home in our brains. But whether it is due to a deficit in serotonin levels or a result of natural events, our anxiety is often triggered by the inconsistencies in life. We live in a world that is constantly changing: we are changing, our relationships are changing, and people tend to be coming and going. For a lot of us, it seems more often than not that people are "going" or have simply never arrived. We all know people who have been let down by their loved ones. More likely than not, we have been that person who has been let down at some point. And if we are being honest, we have all let down those who we love most as well. We have said things that we wish we wouldn't have, we wish we were there in times we weren't, and we have done things that don't match up with the person we really want to be. All of this inconsistency is a detriment to our relationships, especially the ones with the people we love most. It takes YEARS to develop trust with someone, and unfortunately takes SECONDS to break. This leaves virtually everyone with the anxieties and insecurities that are all too familiar. We get scared that the ones we love most will let us down and that there will be times that they wont be there when we want them to. And the truth is that THEY WILL LET US DOWN. Why? Because we are human, it is in our character.
I used to struggle immensely with the idea that a God so perfect could love somebody so flawed like myself. I believe the difficulty came with trying to fathom how his His love could stay the same towards me every single day and not be contingent on "how many sins I've committed that day". Luckily we don't have a God that is bound by the inconsistencies we experience in every other relationship we have on earth. Our Lord is as consistent as it gets. "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever" (Hebrews 13:8). For many of us that is almost impossible to grasp because we have never experienced a day of consistency in our lives. But with Jesus, "there is no variation or shadow due to change" (James 1:17). Our love and way we treat one another all to often changes like shifting shadows, and this leaves us hesitant to allow ourselves to love and trust those around us. So what now? What do we do with the inevitable inconsistencies we give out and receive?
OWN THEM. As humans we naturally try to cover up our flaws and put on a "perfect identify". We are slow to apologize and ask for forgiveness because that entails admitting that we are not perfect. We are all scared that if we vocalized something we've done, or "if you truly knew who I was", that "there is no way that you could still love me". The ironic thing is that owning your flaws and accepting the fact that WE WILL OFFEND EACH OTHER will actually bring us all into closer relationship. And so if we are going to be quick to ask for forgiveness, we need to be....
QUICK TO FORGIVE. What better way can you reflect Christ to somebody than to look at their past and current flaws and offenses in the eye and say "I still love you through that". Because that is our biggest fear right? That if someone really knew who we were, that there is no way they would love us. I've got some great news, God knows EXACTLY who you are, and EXACTLY what you've done and every thought you have had, and "so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not parish but have eternal life". And the even better news is that He loves us exactly where we are at, but loves us too much to leave us there.
We have the opportunity here on earth to reflect Christ's consistency to one another, to meet each other where we are in our sin, and love each other too much to allow each other to remain in sin. God can use our human inconsistencies for his Glory if we are willing to admit them.
So whereas Huxley's quote does raise an interesting idea, we can refute it with the knowledge that our Lord and Savior has consistently been the same yesterday, today, and forever and is very much alive.
The holidays can be a very painful time because it is often associated with family get together's and can be a reminder of the inconsistencies we have experienced from our loved ones. So this Christmas be quick to admit offense and quick to forgive those around you. What better way to reflect Christ to the ones you love.
*And buy consistently roasted coffee beans from us so we can create a consistent job for those whose lives have been plagued by inconsistency :) (Don't let this last sentence ruin it all for you) :)