nothing separates

When was the last time you felt good about yourself? Do you remember what it feels like? Stop a moment, close your eyes and think back to when it was. This is something that is very difficult to do and much harder than we think. It seems that we are always able to remember when we were displeased with ourselves. That is something which almost comes naturally to us. But, feel good about ourselves??? That takes some extra effort.

Why do you think that is? Is it because of the way we were brought up? Do we think that we should always do better, and so are never happy with ourselves? Are our expectations of ourselves too high? Do we think that we are capable of doing everything and when we realize we can’t then we are disappointed? Is that what it is? Or maybe, as a child we were berated constantly, so much so, that we have a very poor image of ourselves. We now feel that nothing we do is acceptable.

This article is not about psychology. That is left to others more capable. We are not trying to find out why we are as we are. Whatever stage of development we are now in, is a given. We are as we are. The desire, however, to improve, to raise ourselves up out of these doldrums, that is what we wish to work on. How is this to be accomplished? Isn’t it true that when we look at ourselves and see what we say, what we do, how we treat others then we become ashamed? We don’t like what we see. We cannot accept ourselves.

We have to ask ourselves three very important questions:

(1) Why are we ashamed?
(2) Why don’t we like what we see in ourselves?
(3) Why can’t we accept ourselves?

Each of these three questions has the same answer at its base. The answers may sound different, but in reality are just different ways of looking at the same thing. The answers might  sound like this: I am better than that. I should know better. That is not who I want to be. All of these answers, however, are based on the same thing, namely, PRIDE. We can’t stand to think of ourselves as being flawed. But it doesn’t stop there. If we are flawed, not only can I not accept myself, but we feel that others won’t be able to either. This is how our thinking goes. And so we hide our deficiencies, our flaws. We deny that they exist. We cover them over with something so others won’t notice. And in the process, we begin to loathe ourselves even more, for we see the falseness inside ourselves. We see the extent we are willing to go to hide who we really are.

The answer to this problem is simply, “Jesus”. Before you say, “Oh, brother, here he goes again.” Think about these facts.  He saw you and me before we even existed. He knew how petty we could be, we would be. He felt the pain of our sins. He knew the price that had to be paid. And what does He say to His Father in heaven? “Father, forgive them for they don’t know what they are doing.” He makes excuses for us to His heavenly Father. He suffers and dies for you and me. Why? Because He loves us, ACCEPTS us. We won’t find one person in our lifetime, who will know us as completely as He does and still love us. He sees our pettiness, our sinfulness, the evil in our hearts that we are ashamed of. He sees all of this and fiercely loves us, unconditionally loves us. He loves you and me. He even, dare I say it again, accepts us.

If He can accept you and me, in spite of all the evil that we are capable of doing, why can we not accept ourselves? God can accept us, but we can’t. Is our value system better than God’s? Are we better than God? It is time to put away the false pride that is eating us alive. Recognize that we, all of us, are truly a wayward people and instead of prancing around with this false pride, accept that Christ loves us and expects us to treat each other with kindness, love and respect. To do this means we have recognized that we, as well as all the people that we meet, are prone to making mistakes, to committing sins. We are flawed. And, just as Christ accepts us, we must accept ourselves … and others! It’s time to forget the foolishness of false pride and get on with living a real Christian Life.A life that glories in the fact that Jesus really does love us, that God knew what He was doing when He created us. His plan for us rests on our acceptance of ourselves, on our acceptance of His love, on our acceptance that God wants nothing more from us than our trust in Him. Our lives will follow the path He sees possible for us, only when we accept ourselves, as we are, and recognize that our strength, our goodness, our wholesomeness rests in Him.

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