People are like mirrors. We look at them and think that we see ourselves in what we see reflected back. If we see things like forgiveness and love, then we believe ourselves to be worthy of forgiveness and love. If, on the other hand, we see unforgiveness and rejection, then we believe ourselves to be unforgivable and unacceptable.
The more that we desire someone’s love, the more that we will believe that how they treat us is the truth about ourselves. This can happen with parents, with husbands, wives, and others close to us, and it can lead to very unhealthy relationships. These negative relationships are the symptom of deeper core issues, around how you value yourself and how you see God.
I know. It’s a sad truth that I have lived for most of my life this way. And I am not alone. Many people struggle with this. Some are aware of it, but most people aren’t.
We were never meant to live this way. We were never meant to derive our love and acceptance from others.
We live in a world of billions of sinful, selfish human beings. And they’re all running around judging and trying to diminish others in order to build themselves up. What a mess you’ll end up being if you try go get your value from others, whoever they may be!
Even if they are godly people, their opinion of you will always fall infinitely short of the love and acceptance with which God sees you.
In Romans 2:29, the Bible tells us where we need to learn to get our praise from:
…a person with a changed heart seeks praise from God, not from people (Rom 2:29, NLT).
Having someone say something good about you is nice, and if someone really does loves you, that’s even better. But even that isn’t enough to give you the strength to get through life’s euphoric highs and devastating lows. And it’s certainly not enough to maintain a faith that will keep you connected with God.
God doesn’t love some fairy-tale image of you. He loves you just as you are right now.
Christian growth is all about grow in relationship. It’s based on an ever-increasing understanding of just how good God is. It’s about tapping in every day into his love for you. It’s about understanding that in Jesus, God not only fully accepts you, but that he absolutely delights in you, and will do so forever.
And God isn’t loving some fairy-tale, perfect image of you that doesn’t exist. He loves you just as you are right now, with all of your hang-ups, hurts, and habits. He accepts you just like that. And God delights when you just hand all these things over to him by recognising and accepting his love. That’s when your healing and life-transformation begins.
Other people judge you by your past or your circumstances. But they don’t know that you’re a child of God. Their opinion doesn’t count.
When you learn to get your praise from God, you’ll learn to trust in what he thinks more than what others think. You’ll have the strength to make the tough decisions in life, because you’ll depend on God, and not on your acceptance with others.
Your strength will be the strength of nail-scarred hands, an open tomb forever, and the endless love of God’s ceaseless love.
Article supplied with thanks to Dr Eliezer Gonzalez.
About the Author: Dr Eli Gonzalez is the Senior Pastor of Good News Unlimited and the presenter of the Unlimited radio spots, and The Big Question.