Knowing ourselves, in our aloneness and weakness, is the foundation for loving others. It saves us from the false belief that our identity comes from what we are in other people’s eyes or from what we can do. It also helps us get beyond the caution that can sometimes accompany reaching out. You know the instinctive fear: if we show our weaknesses and vulnerabilities, then we will get trampled on and hurt. However it is not our strength that is the foundation of community, friendship and love, but a true confidence in who we are, including our failings.
Forgiveness is the name for love practiced among people who love poorly. The hard truth is that all people love poorly. We need to forgive and be forgiven every day, every hour increasingly. That is the great work of love among the fellowship of the weak that is the human family.