I hope the new year is going well for you and you are giving yourself what you need to grow and love yourself more. My holidays were full of just being with family, being by myself and bringing in 2013 with good friends.
For the last 3 or 4 months I have been hearing the same thing. It is all about love. All through the months of November, December and January I have been looking into love, what it really is, how to bring it into my life in practical ways and extend it to others. When I was home for Christmas I read the verse, Faith, hope and love and the greatest of these is love. Really? I never stopped to think about that. Don’t we act like faith is the most important? I guess it is easier to look faithful than to practice real love. I sure have done that before.
This week I have seen two examples of real love and I wanted to share them with you.
At the American Cinematheque awards ceremony this week Robert Downey Jr. asked the audience of his peers to consider forgiving Mel Gibson and allowing him to quit “hugging the cactus” any longer.
Downey was mentored and encouraged by Gibson in very real ways at a time in his life when most had given up on him.
Recalling when Gibson had helped him out in the past, Downey Jr. stepped out of the spotlight at his own award ceremony and said, “When I couldn’t get sober, he told me not to give up hope and encouraged me to find my faith. It didn’t have to be his or anyone else’s as long as it was rooted in forgiveness. And I couldn’t get hired, so he cast me in the lead of a movie that was actually developed for him. He kept a roof over my head and food on the table and most importantly he said if I accepted responsibility for my wrongdoing and embraced that part of my soul that was ugly – hugging the cactus he calls it — he said that if I hugged the cactus long enough, I’d become a man.”
I was extremely moved by the authenticity that came across at that very weighty event and the call for forgiveness and acceptance to one who has fallen so far “out” in Hollywood.
I also saw a blog yesterday by Mastin Kipp about sending love and forgiveness to Lance Armstrong. His words to his Daily Love tribe were powerful and insightful especially since we are in the middle of hearing Lance “admit” right now and it is so easy to crucify him.
It’s very easy to step into judgment about people. It’s easy to tear people down – especially in our western society where the media Loves to build people up, and the SECOND they mess up – tear them down.
I for one cannot do that. And I can’t stand idly by while this happens to Lance.
I think it’s important to remember that we are all connected and a reflection of each other. Let us use this moment that is happening to Lance as a reminder of the collective shadow, the collective fear, the collective dark side of us all.
As I read the blog I realized that I had the attitude of just “writing him off” for what he has done. That is the easy thing to do but what I see as the most loving place I can be (in my heart) is to extend forgiveness to him in spite of his actions (even as my mind tells me he doesn’t deserve it!)
After all, that is what I want others to do for me. Right? Hey…I have done my share of “hugging the cactus” from the messes I have made in my life. Because of people who chose to love me through it I had hope and courage to accept responsibility and change my life. And lots of people were faced with the choice of forgiving me even when I didn’t deserve it and many did.
As Lance has his interview with Oprah are you willing to just consider extending grace and love to him? If that is a stretch, how about just considering not judging him as you watch.
When you consider it means you don’t have to do it, you just consider doing it. This frees you from doing something because someone thinks you “should” but because you have chosen to do it for the sack of love, healing, freedom etc. In this case, considering means you choosing not to judge Lance (only you will know that) so just notice how you are judging him and then decide if you are willing to drop it.
This is radical love. To choose to extend love when it is not deserved. To love in spite of. To let go of the need to punish someone else. To understand that how you love others is how you love yourself.
Be the love that you want to see in your life today. Just consider it.
PS This doesn’t mean that the forgiveness and love will take away the natural consequences. Oh no. I can tell you for sure they are there to work through. So be assured, Lance will still face all the consequences of his choices even when you decide to give him grace. That is just how it works. But the love and grace will give the chance for truth and healing to take place for everyone involved.