Messy Stories

When I first heard what happened, the situation was clear. It was easy to understand what transpired. The words and behaviors at that moment made perfect sense in my head. I thought everything was clear and easy to understand, but I was completely wrong. 

We all want the good guys in white and the bad guys in black. People who have an ugly attitude should do mean things, and seemingly friendly people do good things. Intelligent people should consistently make wise choices, and foolish people will frequently be in trouble. The people we like should always be kind to us, and the ones we don’t are expected to harbor evil intentions. 

Unfortunately, people and their behaviors do not always fit in nice clean categories.

To make things messier, the stories we make up in our heads are usually wrong. 

Our spouse might be trying their best to make us happy, and we assume they purposely try to make us mad. The person viewed as a selfless saint is more narcissistic than we imagined when we hear their motivation to serve. 

Life is messy, even a life of faith. 

Good people will make poor choices. People whose lives are chaotic and unkempt will show kindness in ways you never expect. Some brilliant people will ignore the inevitable events of life and pay the price for them. 

Life is a complex web of emotions, experiences, and expectations. Simplistic answers are rarely correct. Clear and easy-to-understand stories are usually wrong. 

It is easier to caricature people than deal with their multifaceted problems. Christians are called to bring grace, rather than judgment, to life’s messy situations. We do not ignore the troubling questions but embrace them with the forgiveness of Jesus. Even when we don’t completely understand the behaviors, our lives are beacons of love. The followers of Jesus point people living in a mess to the Messiah who can bring hope even to the most complicated dilemmas.   

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