In a brief exchange with a friend this morning, we quickly identified a common struggle. Even with years of experience behind us, we still find ourselves lacking when it comes to certain relationships. We long to relax and enjoy the fellowship with those dear to us, but often these exchanges leave us feeling as if something was left undone and unsettled in a vague, not-so-sure-what-it-is kind of way. If we are not careful, we beat ourselves up over our perceived deficiencies, and promise ourselves we will do better next time. I shouldn’t have said this. I should have said that. Why did I do THAT?
We’ve spent the better part of our lives as followers of Christ and have seen amazing changes in ourselves. We are leaps and bounds from where we began, so how is it that we still struggle here? Both the time spent with our loved ones and the parting are bittersweet, as we wish things were just a little different. If only they could hear our hearts.
We weigh our success in these relationships on the scales of our personalities and judge them by our abilities, or lack thereof, to adequately express ourselves on one side of the scale, and their responses to us on the other. We imagine this scale rocking up and down, hoping to find it stop perfectly balanced leaving us eye-to-eye, understanding finally achieved. Someday. When we get it right.
God quickly reminded me that we are weighing our lives on the wrong scales so often. Some are weighing the success of their lives based on their work or their outward appearance. Others are weighed by their bank accounts or their good deeds. Still others are looking at the scales of religion or titles achieved to measure success or failure on any given day. But these are all faulty scales.
A just balance and scales are the Lord’s; all the weights of the bag are His work – established on His eternal principles. Proverbs 16:11
With all the wonderful things we may be able to accomplish in this lifetime, especially the things we do for Him, they will all be measured on one scale: Love.
If I can speak in the tongues of men and angels, but have not love, I am only a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have prophetic powers and understand all the secret truths and mysteries and possess all knowledge, and if I have faith so that I can remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. Even if I dole out all that I have to the poor in providing food, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. 1 Corinthians 13:1-3
When the weight of God’s love is put on the scale of all our relationships, He assures a right balance. Our relationships still require our efforts to develop and grow into what He wants them to be. But none of the efforts we employ will remain on the scale if they are not saturated in and motivated by His love.
So this morning I encouraged my friend and myself. I reminded us both that while the personalities in all our relationships may still be a little out of sync , those dear to us know that we love them and in the end love wins.