The Truth of Who We Are - Part 3
- Thursday, June 25, 2009
We are made for human as well as divine relationship. Just as he did not make another animal for Adam we are not ultimately satisfied with less than human relationships. This does not HAVE to be marriage, but it may be. The desire for a more significant human relationship is proper—natural and real. Still, we dare not let the relational market determine our worth.
I made the astounding discovery years ago that I did not like myself. Oh, I thought I was a good guy. In fact, I believed I was a good friend and would make a good husband. My family and many, many, friends reinforced this truth to me. But none of this translated to a relationship. Love still eluded me and self-worth suffered. I asked the questions, “Am I not good enough? What did I do?” and even, “What is wrong with me?”
It is in the deepest, darkest of pits that even a glimmer of light is best perceived, and so it was. I was watching the movie Planes Trains & Automobiles and was moved by one scene in particular. During a hotel stay the enraged Neal (Steve Martin) lambasted Del (John Candy) for his boring stories and mundane life. Neal was relentless and destructive with his words while Del stood listening, frozen as though he had been punched. Del was silent for a few seconds and then responded:
“You want to hurt me?
Go right ahead if it makes you feel any better.
I'm an easy target.
Yeah, you're right: I talk too much. I also listen too much.
I could be a cold, hard cynic like you but I don't like to hurt people's feelings.
You think what you want about me, I'm not changing. I ... I like me.”
I am not lauding those lazy people who refuse to grow and mature because they are “who they are.” We must all change and grow. None of us has yet arrived.
But I was struck by the simplicity of his confession, “I like me.” It was a simple confidence in the face of assaulting doubt—“I like me.” It turns out this is far more important than somebody else “liking me.” If we do not feel worthy, if we never own that value imparted by Christ, we will drain the resources of anyone trying to love us.
We cannot allow the dimness of today, of what we perceive to be the “real” world to dominate our thinking. We are Christians and this means we see all things by a different light. The Christian ideal is that we are His children and that He bestows value upon us. So … “I like me.”
If we operate in another system, the world’s system for instance, then all we have is our faces, our bodies, our brains, and the zip of our personalities. These are good things. I will take them all if I can get them, but they are (or should be) worth more in the world’s economy than in the Kingdom of God. In fact, they are most effective if it is the world we are trying to buy; if all we seek is family and home and white picket fences. This is not all we seek—is it?
Alongside these things, these good things, is the ideal that all value and worth flow from the one whose worth is inexpressible. We must start there. We must start with the knowledge, the heart and head knowledge, that we ARE valuable. No compliment should augment our worth and no criticism should diminish our worth. “I like me.”
If someone tells us we are beautiful or handsome the proper answer is “Yes, I know! He makes all things beautiful.” Try it and let me know how it goes. If their response is shock, simply say “I like me.”
To ask the question, “What is wrong with me?” is to ask the question, “Am I worthy? Is who I am good enough no matter what I may or may not have?” For us to ask these questions is to question the Lord who bought us. To question our worth because we are still single makes our circumstances the measure of our worth—and this can never be.
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