It’s a fairly easy argument to convince others who are Christian or religious to realize at some point we need to start working on the idea of seeing others the way that God sees them or at a minimum ,attributing others with value simply because of one undeniable truth.
We’re made in God’s image.
But how about you? Do you the attribute the same value to yourself?
Most Christians and religious folk I talk to live in a terrible sense of guilt. The bulk unaware of this cognitively as we have a tendency to replace presence with activity. Despondency doesn’t need a closet secret waiting to get out! Religious folks, many of them professing Christians, are terribly disappointed in themselves, their accomplishments, the way they look, their position in life, what they can’t do, or didn’t, you get the picture. When was the last time you looked at yourself in the mirror when you weren’t putting on makeup or trying to correct some flaw and relaxed at the sight of your own face?
I’m betting it’s been a long time right?
We can listen to pastors and teachers about loving others and our need to be more patient and help others yada, yada, but when was the last time a pastor talked to you about loving you? Probably a long time right? If ever!
That’s because most pastors don’t even like themselves!
Wait a minute! You might ask, is this some self help pep talk intent on building my self esteem?
Have you ever stopped to consider that the most well recognized verse in the Bible, John 3: 16 is about you? personally by the way. Your a part of God’s world, that world God “so loved” the world that “He gave his only Son for.” That’s right, valued and treasured so much by that Jesus when conveying to us how much his Father loves us he said things like “even the very hairs of your head are numbered” (Matt 10: 30).
But it gets much better my friend, much better…
I’m sure some of you reading this may be in an extremely difficult time in your life for whatever reason and you may have a good argument for not feeling any form of love from God and in fact you might feel desperately far from him and everything he represents. It would be foolish of me to try to convince you things might get better, because they may not. Maybe that person won’t be healed, maybe your spouse or child isn’t coming back or maybe you will be stuck the next decade or so digging out of a mess that’s no fault of your own that’s sucked all the joy out of life and the “why even bother” attitude is making a quick exit from responsibility seem like a better option.
Take a moment over the next couple of minutes to change your life. Here’s why….If any one hasn’t told you this lately, at least in a way you could believe it, you have tremendous intrinsic value. You were made in the image of God, the very impression of Him, an expression even a representation of his character and His glory. The Bible tells us God made us, male and female in His image and the world does everything to convince us otherwise and what gives us value is either obtained or acquired. When did that last thing you bought give you lasting peace? Ever?
Matthew, one of Jesus disciples wrote about how he saw Jesus the way Jesus saw us
“When he (Jesus) saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd” (Matthew 9: 36).
That’s how God sees us, not as an object needing judgment but first as sheep, lost and in distress, valued, of great worth. You and I friend in the eyes and value system of God have great worth. You are precious to Him. It drove Jesus enemies crazy that he was comfortable sitting down with broken people. “It’s not those who are healthy who need a doctor” he would say…
It’s no wonder this Matthew conveys this at a time probably close to his own calling. Consider how far away Matthew, the modern day equivalent of a drug pusher, a pimp, (can we use that word in a sentence that has Jesus name in it?) socially rejected and shunned from the religious culture of his time observed how his Lord and master viewed people…with compassion. Matthew knew how Jesus saw others regardless of their state; with compassion, and tenderness.
I always picture Jesus saying that to Matthew like Moses waving his staff over the waters of the Red Sea! I think now probably Jesus smiled while he said it. It was an invitation, a shepherd calling one of his sheep.
I’d like to ask you try something this week that you’ve not been accustomed to. It’s to treat yourself with compassion and dignity. Set aside the protein shakes and the exercise regimens which consume your time, spend a little less time on the portable device etc. This might be very hard for some as it’s been a while and the roads and the choices seem to have ruined all prospects for the future, but allow yourself to remind you of how God sees you, irreplaceable, precious, like the only child to a parent. When you’re in the car or you find yourself when worry or regret is covertly pulling at you, diminishing the quality of life remind yourself “I have intrinsic worth and great value.” It’s going to take a while to believe it and you may find yourself redefining what you think “self care” really is especially if the circumstances seem contradictory. Thankfully God doesn’t save us based on circumstances, he saved us based on love despite the circumstances.
Then, choose to reflect in this for as long as you need to catch your spiritual breath, you’ll know the presence of God when he shows up. No one has to explain it to you or ask you for proof of the experience. Just rest on a promise which is rather a spiritual principle of truth:
“I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me John 17: 22.
J.P Grier is the founder and writer at SentinelforChrist com – Sentinel-For-Christ is a network of Christian men helping each other to press deeper in Christ.