Have you ever completed one of those personality surveys? I have done a few in both the business world and in religious settings. I was reminded of this by thinking about interactions I have had over the years and seeing the survey results born out in my life and others.
We all love to dwell on our strengths, in fact we take great pride in them. We get them out and regularly polish them to a brilliant sheen for everyone to see. We prominently display our strengths like trophies on the mantle, all lined up perfectly.
But, there is the other less attractive side to our strengths, they are called weaknesses. I have received the survey and eagerly read over the many pluses I bring to the table and glossed over the minuses, I’ll bet you did too!
I think we all tend to do that and it is probably a natural reaction that we have. When someone asks what your strengths are, then, BAM!!! We recite the list with great skill and fluidity! Try to list weaknesses and we start mumbling unintelligibly.
I enjoy talking about my strengths too, however, the not so pretty side of who we are needs to be a little more consistently reviewed and worked on. Yep, work. Our strengths may need refining now and then, but it’s our weaknesses that need the attention. That is really no fun at all because there is tarnish, rust, maybe a few dents in that seldom seen trophy.
So what are those weaknesses? I think we probably know without even reviewing the survey. And what have we done about them? Nothing really, cause they are still there, still a problem, and then we start to make excuses.
We think our good traits waaaay outnumber the bad ones, so that somehow diminishes their impact, wrong. Have you ever noticed that you can do 10 wonderful things, but a negative stays with you, and brands you? The wrong will outweigh the good EVERY time, but we keep sweeping those undesirable actions out of sight, under the rug. Another one of my favorites is “I’m not as bad as he or she is.” Really, that’ll hold water! Comparing ourselves to others to make our case is a pointless exercise.
Here is my point in this. It’s OK to have weaknesses and faults, we are human. Though we strive to put our best “us” out there, we often don’t. But instead of accepting this, why not strive to go higher?
What is the highest of attributes we can have, what do you think of? I can hear a hundred different responses. But I will tell you what I think it is.
I base this on 1 Corinthians 13, it says that in whoever you are, whatever you do, and however you do it, all of it must be from a love motivation. That makes us responsible for everything we say, think, and do, and that hurts; especially when we’ve been wrong, caused hurt, been selfish, arrogant, and sinning all the way. It means even when we’ve done something from a motivation of justice, we may have forgotten mercy.
Some of us don’t even know how to love, have had our love stymied by tragic circumstances, or willfully judge with no tangible love evident. I am learning what love looks like; it’s selfless, generous, always pointing to God and not dragging someone who errs through the mud, it is an attribute that flows like a river from the heart, God’s heart first, and then ours.
Lord, teach us to truly love.
If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate.
If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing.
If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.
Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.
Love never dies. Inspired speech will be over some day; praying in tongues will end; understanding will reach its limit. We know only a portion of the truth, and what we say about God is always incomplete. But when the Complete arrives, our incompletes will be canceled.
When I was an infant at my mother’s breast, I gurgled and cooed like any infant. When I grew up, I left those infant ways for good.
We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!
But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love. (MSG Bible)