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TRIBEWORK is about consuming the process of life, the journey, together.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

It’s Not the Whole Story

GOOD news.
Whatever we know in life, it’s not the whole story.
It’s good news for this reason: life opens us gloriously when we acknowledge the powerful truth that only seems to disempower us.  The beginning is at the end.  When pride is at an end, true life opens up.
Your life in my view, and my life in your view; it’s not the whole story.  If we see each other either at the heights of success or at the depths of failure, or in the myriad places between, we don’t see the whole story.  If we hurt each other, because we ourselves are hurting, it’s not the whole story.
Nobody knows or appreciates the whole story.  Nobody but God.
If we don’t believe in God or don’t care much for Him, we still need to admit that the record of our lives is a historic fact.  All the itty bitty events of our lives, our breathing seconds, too, are facts.  We exist in all our entirety, and we’ve been places and done things and interacted with people and the earth that the universe attests to have happened.  We cannot ignore this.  These things that have happened didn’t just occur in our imaginations.  Some of what we’ve done we’re ashamed of.  Some we feel guilty for.  We struggle to accept or forgive ourselves.  Regardless of what others might have done to us, there are things that we’ve done wrong.
But it’s not the whole story.
The Whole Story of Our Own Lives
You and I don’t even know the whole story of our own lives.  Only God does.  None of us know.  None of us has a memory of our times as infants, or of our sleeping and dreaming, or, in many cases, of our twilight years with dementia.  None of us can begin to describe the fullness of our perceptive experience.  Sure we may attempt to reflect, but we miss many aspects of our lives that we have actually experienced.  None of us knows why we feel like we do at times.  None of us knows with an established fullness just why we are here on planet earth: our definitive purpose.  The closer to the whole story of our lives we get, the further away we actually appear to be.
Some of us judge ourselves too harshly, whilst some of us are too harsh on others.  We’re not as bad or good as others think we are.  We’re not as bad or good as we think we are.
Perception is a villain when it’s allowed free reign to judge.  Perception is only part of the story, yet perceptions (yes, plural, as in opposing perceptions) are crucial to the overall revelation and representation of the truth.  And yet perceptions can only contribute to the truth when they are brought together, where the wrestle is real and respectful, and the object of truth is sought and the truth is actually gleaned.  (And sadly, how rare that is!)  Perceptions only add something to the object of reconciliation when we can validate each other’s perceptions.
Now is probably the right time to say…
We Can’t Know the Whole Story of Another’s Life
If we can’t possibly know the whole story in our own lives, how are we to possibly know that whole story in another person’s life?  Actually, we can only judge when we have the full truth before us — the full recognition of the information available.  We cannot even judge ourselves fairly, so why do we think we are even positioned to know?  We can only know so much less than their own knowledge, and yet they, like us, cannot know everything about themselves.
We don’t know what they’ve been through; what their perceptive experience was.  We can only imagine our fears imputed on them, and how horrendous some of their situations could have been for them.  We imagine them having a better or worse life than ours — but it’s not that at all; it’s just different, and, to that end, incomprehensible to us.  Should we not revere such a dichotomy?  It should mean that respect for the other is implicit.
It’s a key and vital knowledge to have, that we don’t know what we often presume to know.
We behave in ways that implies that others should know better, only to be disappointed when we feel betrayed.  We have actually been betrayed by our own fractious expectations based on scant knowledge.  How terrible is the sin of ignorance!
What God Sees That We Can’t
It’s a fact of life that we can’t see it all.  But God can, and does.
God sees the struggles we’ve made of life, the bad choices, the fears that were enacted upon, and times we failed, and He saw the fuller picture that we couldn’t see.  This caused Him pain.  As He watched us compromise on important matters He wanted us to choose differently, but He understood we couldn’t see everything.  If we could have, we would not have made the same mistakes, we would have chosen better.  But we don’t have the whole story.
God sees not only the mistakes, but the secrets, too.  Just let that sit…
All the grubby little secrets and wicked thoughts I’ve engaged in, and continue to participate in.  (I speak in the first person out of courtesy to you.)  All these God sees.  He stands there, even as I grovel in sin, and revel in idolatry, and He sees, and not only accepts me, He loves me!  Even as I’ve felt ashamed for many things, He looks on me as the New Creation I am — because of Jesus — because Jesus died and was raised to resurrection life, that my sins would be forgiven, and that I, too, could live a whole life… a whole life that I cannot appreciate.
Even in the partness of this whole life I can begin to imagine the consummate depths of His grace.  I can begin.  I can’t get much further, because I don’t have access to the whole story — the depths, the widths, the heights, and the depths of grace that saves the lost when they had no chance, and had absolutely no claim on salvation.
We don’t see the whole story, yet God does, and He not only forgives and accepts us, He loves us.  God sees more than we ever could, including our every sin, and yet, because of Jesus, He cannot not love us.
Grace so amazing,
So wonderfully kind,
Jesus comes a raising,
A saving God-designed.
Grace so amazing,
So wonderfully kind,
Today I can’t stop praising:
He saved me when I was blind.
Grace so amazing,
So wonderfully kind,
His love ever blazing,
For my heart to find.
Grace so amazing,
So wonderfully kind,
No matter my gazing,
His love’s too big for my mind.

© 2016 Steve Wickham.

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