We are often mixed bags of double truths – saint and sinner, selfish and yet deeply caring for others, loving and also the one who brings harm. And this is true for many of our relationships as well. On the one hand, they might cause many disappointments, while at the same time fostering a deep appreciation in our souls. And it’s with much wisdom and maturity that we can simultaneously hold these multiple realities.
Perhaps it’s human nature to prefer things in simplistic black or white categories. But our relationships with each other rarely allow for such simplicity and we must learn to hold many points of tension.
For instance, even good parents are not perfect. And we might not have to look far to find many disappointing moments from our childhood or even in our parents as adults. All the same, we can look back with much gratitude and see the good in our parents as well. Both realities are true, and we don’t have to hold one to the neglect of the other. We risk being dishonest when we can only see one extreme or the other.
This can also play out in marriage. We can love our wife and be forever grateful that God allowed us to find each other. Even still, we might have to grieve who she’s not and come to terms with our relational heartaches as well.
Our friendships, parenting, work, and the like are all subject to these dual realities – a blessing and burden at the same time.
We can be too hard on others and tempted to cut relationships off prematurely when all we see are our disappointments. But we can miss addressing and healing from deep wounds when we only view the relationship through rose-tinted glasses.
The wise approach is allowing for both.
Grieve the disappointments in your relationships while keeping your heart open to the many ways they bless you as well. These realities are often both true at the same time.