Whatever is true, dwell on these things.
I think about friendships and how many times I have actually assumed something based on the way someone said something or what they looked like when they said it. Is it true? We can get so spun out assuming what another person is thinking. Is it true?
I do know what is true and it isn't always the prettiest things about us that are true. It is true that we are redeemed, but in order to be redeemed, we have to know that we are lost and broken. Where do we share those broken places? I have been blessed to have the few spaces in this world -- sacred friendships -- where I can be all of me and not be cast out.
That woman, caught in adultery in the Bible, she is thrown out in the middle of the crowd and everyone takes up a stone. But Jesus. Not Jesus. He sits low to the ground and writes something in the dirt and then He speaks. He speaks first to her accusers and what He speaks is True. He says, "He who is without sin throw the first stone." He stills the crowd with this invitation to self-examination. Not one of them can throw, they drop their stones and go one by one away. Then He turns to the woman and says, "Where are your accusers?" And He says, "Since they do not accuse you, nor do I." And then He says, "Go and sin no more." His love is true. He breaks into this brokenness and offers pure, true forgiveness.
How often do we pick up stones? Do we turn to those around us and even silently in our hearts look at them and throw stones at their brokenness? Do we think they are worse than us? Do we feel better when we put them in a place of condemnation? But there is no condemnation in Jesus. This is true love. It is love that went to the cross instead of condemning. He went there for my brokenness and yours.
I have had some throw stones in the past year. One in particular. She was an unexpected hurler of stones and when I got "hit" I was so blindsided. I didn't know what to do and I became so stricken with fear at the thought of running into her in common places. I put her above Jesus in my heart and let her opinion of me rule my thoughts. I wanted to forgive her, but I just couldn't. She hurled a stone when I had thought she would be a person with whom I could be broken and transparent.
God doesn't waste these painful experiences. When others hurl stones, He is there. He unveiled my heart to me and showed me my need for acceptance and even showed me the idol of others' opinion of me. That is true. It isn't pretty, but it is true. And when we bring our sin into the light and see it for what it is, He will heal us. True love. True love went to the cross for me. True love asks me to forgive in His name. True love walks me through the process. True love calls me by a new name, marks me for heaven and loves me as I am until I am more like Him in time.
What has His true love done in your life? I'd love to hear.