Today’s Scripture: 1 Peter 4:1-8
8Above all, maintain constant love for one another, for love covers a multitude of sins. (NRSV)
Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself,
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)
“Song of Myself” by Walt Whitman
It has taken me a long time to realize and understand that I am capable of all sinful acts, just as I am capable of all redemptive acts. My outrage or disgust at an offense committed by a friend or a crime committed by a stranger is only indicative of my own capacity to commit the same. When we deny our potential to be evil or unkind, we engage in a phenomenon called projection, which is a transfer of our own unconscious imperfection onto others to avoid addressing that same attribute in ourselves.
Projection works both ways. We frequently project positive attributes onto those we admire, believing that the traits that have made that person successful are characteristics we do not share. We may do this to avoid stepping out in faith to achieve that same success or as a sort of false humility. But, as Whitman reminds us, we contain multitudes and need only activate our recognition of all that is within us.
So thank God that we are covered by Christ’s love, demonstrated by the cross yesterday and the tomb tomorrow. Thank God that when we trespass against those we love and we can hardly recognize ourselves, we are recognized and redeemed in Christ. Thank God that in the great Love we experience, we are also mandated to love each other, offering the same grace to those who sin against us. Thank God for the perfection and imperfection within each of us, the finished works of Christ.