What Makes It So Difficult?
EIGHTH IN MY CHAPTER-BY-CHAPTER JOURNEY THROUGH ROBERT MCGEE’S BEST-SELLING BOOK, THE SEARCH FOR SIGNIFICANCE.
If we base our self-worth on the approval of others, then we are actually saying that our ability to please others is of greater value than Christ’s payment for us. We add nothing to our salvation. It is God who seeks us out, convicts us of sin, and reveals Himself to us. It is God who gives us the very faith with which to accept Him. Our faith is simply our response to what He has done for us.
Our worth lies in the fact that Christ’s blood has paid for our sins; therefore, we are reconciled to God. We are accepted on that basis alone, but does this great truth indicate that we don’t need other people in our lives? On the contrary. God very often uses other believers to demonstrate His love and acceptance of us. The strength, comfort, encouragement, and love of Christians toward one another are visible expressions of God’s love. However, our acceptance and worth are not dependent on others’ acceptance of us, even if they are fellow believers!
Whether others accept us or not, we are still deeply loved, completely forgiven, fully pleasing, totally accepted, and complete in Christ. He alone is the final authority on your worth and acceptance.
Potential Obstacles to Receiving This Truth
The Role Of Relationships
For many of us, the unconditional love, forgiveness, and acceptance of Christ seems abstract and is difficult to comprehend. We may understand the premise of these character traits, but may still be unable to incorporate them into our personal experience. Often, we can trace this difficult to our parental relationships.
God intends for parents to model His character to their children. According to scripture, parents are to give their children affection, compassion, protection, provision, and loving discipline. When parents provide this kind of environment in their home, children are usually able to transfer these perceptions to the character of God and believe that He is loving, compassionate, protective, gracious, and a loving disciplinarian. In turn, they are often able to model these characteristics to their own children.
Many of us, however, have not received this parental model of God’s character. On an extremely wide spectrum, some of us have had relatively healthy relationships with our parents, while others have experienced various forms of neglect, condemnation, and manipulation. Still others have suffered deeper wounds of sexual abuse, physical abuse, or abandonment.
The greater the degree of dysfunction and poor modeling in a family, the greater the potential for emotional, spiritual, and relational wounds. Put another way, the poorer the parental modeling of God’s love, forgiveness, and power, the greater our difficult experiencing and applying these characteristics to our lives.
My next posting will further examine how we can be wounded through childhood, and what defines a “healthy” versus “unhealthy” relationship.
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