I still cling to the illusion that I must be morally impeccable, other people must be sinless, and the one I love must be without human weakness. But whenever I allow anything but tenderness and compassion to dictate my response to life—be it self-righteous anger, moralizing, defensiveness, the pressing need to change others, carping criticism, frustration at other’s blindness, a sense of spiritual superiority, a gnawing hunger of vindication—I am alienated from my true self. My identity as Abba’s child becomes ambiguous, tentative, and confused.
Our way of being in the world is the way of tenderness. Everything else is illusion, misperception, falsehood.
The way of tenderness avoids blind fanaticism. Instead, it seeks to see with penetrating clarity. The compassion of God in our hearts opens our eyes to the unique worth of each person. “The other is ‘ourself’; and we must love him in his sin as we were loved in our sin.”
Since my childhood, prejudice, bigotry, false beliefs, racist and homophobic feelings and attitudes have been programmed into the computer of my brain along with orthodox Christian beliefs. They are all defense mechanisms against loving.
Brennan Manning — Abba’s Child (pp. 72-73)
I think we all put a certain pressure on ourselves to be perfect. I know I do. As a result, we live our lives expecting everyone else to be perfect and live up to the same standards we believe are important for ourselves. In essence, our expectations truly are defense mechanisms against loving.
Once we truly grasp we are perfect just as we are, and the “other” is perfect exactly as they are, then all our relationships will begin to shift. Once we learn to love with the same grace that we hope to receive ourselves, then our hearts will be drastically transformed.
Have a blessed day.
Peace and Love,