Alright, 2021, we were supposed to have a deal. I didn’t expect you to magically fix 2020, but I did expect you to at least show signs we were going in the right direction. I’m not here to talk specifically about the madness in DC, but it did raise some thoughts from the back of my mind straight to the front. In watching the news as the Congressmen and women were retaking the floor and certifying the election results, the unending cycle of pundits were all parroting something along the lines of, “This is not who we are,” or “America is better than this.” I get it. After all, we say the same thing in our self talk, after all.
When someone, whether it’s us or someone we care about, says or does something wrong, we want to say that it isn’t the “real” them. Their true self is so much more than what this mistake shows. None of us want be judged by our worst decision. The list goes on. Now, I’m not saying there isn’t any truth in these statements. Our self is not just a collection of our worst decisions, that’s certainly true. But, come on, it is part of who we are. Our self is also more than a highlight reel of all our good moves.
We have to acknowledge the dark parts of us. My self is both the good and the bad of me. I am created in the very image and likeness of God, a reflection of the perfect creator whose love is the reason and source of my continued existence. I am also a fallen, broken, sinner whose darkened intellect and weakened will is constantly drawn to the worst impulses. If I lose sight of the first part, it’s too easy to give in to self-loathing and lose all hope for the goodness of man and creation. If I ignore the second and live in denial of the fact I often desire sin, then I will never recognize my need for a savior or work to control those wicked impulses.
Whether we are talking about our personal identity, or our identity as a nation, church, or family, we need to look at the whole self, from the best to the worst of us and everything in between. We are not just our best or worst self, but we aren’t entirely distinct and separate from them either.