I had a friend whose left leg was an inch shorter than his right. For years he tried to hide his limp and, as a result, developed chronic tendonitis and stalactic bone spurs. He finally had “weird shoes” made (his term) to correct the problem.
I had another friend, an alcoholic, who became so disgusted with life inside the bottle that she finally broke down and reached out for help. She was no less in need of rescue than a prospector in a collapsed mine.
In both cases, the effects were outwardly visible. But the real battle, the invisible war, was going on inside of them. Neither should be blamed for their congenital conditions. A short leg is real. So is the nature/nurture-rooted predisposition of an addict. But the responsibility to face the enemy?
We all have congenital conditions. Some are as visible as flat tires. Most are invisible, but no less serious. You can’t see a broken head gasket, but it’s far more critical than a flat tire. “Personality flaws”—sour dispositions, poor listening skills, incessant self-absorption—are not pretty, and it’s easy to blame the individuals for such flaws. But those weaknesses are very likely as congenital as crooked teeth.
And much harder to fix.
So cut them some slack. Recognize they’re fighting an invisible war. Just like you are. If they haven’t comprehended it yet themselves, pray they will. And when you see an opportunity, hike up your courage and tell them about your own invisible war. It may result in a double win: the empowerment to admit their own struggle, and the formation of a new allegiance.
There’s no opting out of this war. But there are alliances to be made. We’re not alone. Let’s stop shooting at each other and get back to facing the enemy…