Friend Ashly wrote a brilliant comment on a post awhile back, and it got me thinking about the danger of assessing friendships and relationships. Here’s the piece of what she wrote that most stuck with me:
When I got married, I determined to never assess Matt based on his role as my husband, but to view him as another human being and my best friend.
Of the people I enjoy and value most in my life – Shasta, the Johnsons, Lauren, the Malangones, and others I’m surely leaving out – I think the common denominator in our relationships is that assessment is absent (or very rare).
With Shasta, for example, I talk about books, God, work, movies, boys, writing, blogging and everything under the sun, and I never feel judged or assessed.
She knows the sins I consider to be my worst.
And yet, she loves me, which is this perfect picture of the gospel because I don’t know why she loves me… I just know that she does.
By the time you read this I will have already done it, but right now, I’m preparing to give my testimony at church. Pastor Pete gave me two scriptures that he thought fit with my story and the flow and purpose of the night, and I’m going to read them, then talk about what they mean to me. Here’s the last paragraph of what I’m preparing to say:
When I read those passages in Ephesians and Romans, I really struggle to believe that sacrificial love like Jesus on the cross could ever be free. I hear that “while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us,” and I don’t even know what that means. It’s beyond my ability to grasp, because I know that getting my name in the paper and winning MVP trophies could never earn that. And finally, I know that I’ll never experience anything quite so divine and perfect than that love.
That divine and perfect love is something I taste every day in relationships that don’t include assessment.
I think that’s what struck me so much about Ashly’s comment…
loving another without assessment is the gospel.
It’s practical theology at its best.
And the biggest choices I’ve been making recently (which church to call home, who my true friends are, what family is…) have centered around this one question: can I stand not to be assessed?
Here’s one more piece of the testimony I’m giving tomorrow:
I don’t really know what my parents got out of the glory days of softball, but I do know this: I loved softball because it was the only means I had of getting my parents’ attention and love. My sister is smarter, prettier, and bolder than I ever could be. Therefore, I clung to softball with every once of identity I had. Every time my name was in the paper and with every MVP award I won, I felt just a little bit closer to being loved.
With God, the crazy thing is that I have been weighed, measured and found wanting… and He loves me anyways. I don’t know why He loves me; I just know that He does.
So maybe it isn’t so much a matter of assessment being absent, but the truth that we’ve all been found wanting, and those we love are always imperfect people, whose assessments are the same as our own… ‘F’
but that ‘F’ doesn’t impede Shasta’s love for me.
Nor does it impede mine for her.
Nor Jesus’ for both of us.