Have you ever sat down in a broken chair? If so, you know it’s a feeling that’s hard to forget. One moment, you have complete confidence that you’re about to rest your legs and all is well, and the next moment you find yourself plummeting unexpectedly and unforgivingly through the bottom of a chair onto the hard ground.
The worst part about it isn’t the fall, either. The worst part about it is the humiliation that comes from falling out of your chair. We try to laugh it off and pretend like we meant to do it like falling out of the chair was all a part of the plan. But in reality, it’s painful and humiliating.
Our relationships tend to be the same way. People usually try their best to look sturdy and pretend as if we could lean all our weight on them, only to find out that, like the rest of the world, they’re broken. So when we go to put our weight on them, they inevitably give under the weight and we fall through to the hard ground. Just like with a broken chair, it’s both painful and humiliating.
So what do we do? Should we never trust people again? Would falling through a chair cause us to never use a chair again? Of course not. Instead, we should understand and embrace the fact that everyone is broken and therefore is unable to hold the full weight of our expectations.
Does that mean we can’t follow people we disagree with? Should we stop committing time to people who fall short of what we expect? Contrary to cultural belief, you can and should have relationships with people you don’t agree with and do life alongside people who mess up. You know why? Because everyone falls into one of those two categories.
When you put all your weight on someone, they will always disappoint you. Why? Because they were never meant to carry the full weight of another person. Sure, they can help carry some of your burdens from time to time, but at the end of the day, they’re broken just like you. They can’t handle all the weight we try to put on them.
This is why when we put all our faith and expectations in another person – wife, kids, friends, political leaders, etc. – we’re devastated when we realize they have actual human flaws. For some reason, we tend to think that some people are flawed, but others are somehow less flawed. The truth is, we all have our own brand of brokenness, and it’ll come out eventually if we allow enough pressure to be put on us.
So when we finally see the ugly flaws of the people in our lives, it shouldn’t surprise us and it shouldn’t wreck our world. They’re broken, and they had a significant amount of weight placed on them. But when we realize that broken people depend on broken people, then we can start to put our weight elsewhere. We can start to put our trust in the fact that we’re all made all the same, and we’re all equally broken, therefore we all equally depend on grace.
Does that mean we shouldn’t hold each other accountable? Absolutely not. The goal is for us to refine one another by calling out areas of improvement. But there’s a difference between calling out areas of improvement for the sake of bettering another person and putting all your weight on someone and then complaining because they broke beneath your weight.
So contrary to what the culture tells us is normal, let’s offer people grace and walk with them through life with the understanding that they’re broken. Then neither one of us has to go through the pain and humiliation of sitting in a broken chair.