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Have Some Regard for Human Frailty

    Philadelphia Story - Understanding Frailty

    Last week I took a theme from the movie,  The Philadelphia Story, to discuss a view that God wants to be loved. This week I want to take a look at another theme from the movie that is a natural outcome of the previous view. The second theme is to have compassion on others weaknesses.

    The Cary Grant character, Dexter, had been married to the Kathryn Hepburn character, Tracy. He had a drinking problem, which eventually led to their divorce. Here is some dialogue from the movie:

    • Dexter: [Tracy] never had any understanding of my deep and gorgeous thirst.
    • Tracy: That was your problem.
    • Dexter: Granted. But you took on that problem with me when you took me, Red. You were no help-mate there. You were a scold.
    • Tracy: It was disgusting. It made you so unattractive.
    • Dexter: A weakness, sure, and strength is her religion, Mr. Connor. She finds human imperfection unforgiveable. And when I gradually discovered that my relationship to her was supposed to be not that of a loving husband and a good companion, but… Oh, never mind.
    • Tracy: Say it.
    • Dexter: But that of a kind of high priest to a virgin goddess, then my drinks grew deeper and more frequent, that’s all.

    This dialogue is a great analogy for what happens in religion. You try to fit the expected mold. If you find success, you criticize those who can’t get there. If you can’t make it, you fall deeper into problems.

    Love trumps religion. Love covers a multitude of sin. Love offers hope and companionship. Love sticks with you when you mess up again.

    As Christians we talk about the love of God, but many of us are still trying to earn His attention. We talk about red flags, blind spots, and trouble areas because we worry about sin crouching at the door. Freedom in Christ scares us. Failure scares us even more.

    • You’ll never be a first-class human being or a first-class woman, until you’ve learned to have some regard for human frailty. – Dexter to Tracy

    Perfect love casts out fear. We not only need some regard for others frailty, but we also need it for ourselves. We need to give ourselves grace to fail. And, so what if we fail? God still loves us. He is still with us. He still wants to use us.

    There is nothing wrong with improving ourselves. However if it is out of fear, you can be the most moral person around, but your heart will not be close to God. You can’t love that which you fear. Our improvement should be based out of love. I want to remove anything that hinders my heart from receiving all of Jesus.

    Let us perfect our love.

    • How would love respond in this situation?
    • How can I love this person?
    • How can I best love myself?

    If we really understood the love of God, we would not need any rules telling us how to live. Love will enable us to stay walking in the Spirit because God is love and He empowers us to love.

    Therefore when that person cuts you off on the highway, ask yourself how you can best love them. When your spouse makes you feel isolated from them, think through your words to see if they are loving. When your neighbor lets his dog poop in your yard again, determine how your confrontation can be an act of love. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres (1 Corinthians 13:4-7).

    • Tracy’s dad to her: “You have a good mind, a pretty face, a disciplined body that does what you tell it to. You have everything it takes to make a lovely woman except the one essential – an understanding heart. And without that, you might just as well be made of bronze.”

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