Usually, I like to write about funny things, but occasionally something feels so important I just have to share it. I was thinking about how kids love to dress up. They will wear anything from a Superman cape to Princess costumes. At our school the kids are sometimes asked to go dressed up like a Tudor or a Victorian child to fit in with the current topic, and the letter home always stipulates that they could wear a rich or poor version of the character. Surprisingly most children would rather not go dressed as the poor version but instead prefer to be a rich child.
I often wish that we as adults could do this!
Sometimes I am so convinced of my messiness, my failures and shortcomings that I can find life a bit of a bleak trudge. When we get into these negative thinking patterns not only do we damage ourselves but we affect the others around us. I am not just talking about our grumpiness being hard to live with, but also how we perceive others. We can fall into the trap of seeing other people in rags, we look for their weaknesses and measure them up with our own, hoping that in seeing their failures we might feel slightly better about our own. Sometimes we will even go as far as pointing out their failures to others in our community, hoping that people will turn their gaze from our problems to theirs.
Something I love about God, the Bible and Christianity is that they teach about hope. I know that some of you have explored the Christian faith and got as far as the bit about sinners and run a mile! I don’t blame you, no one wants to be faced with the bad stuff they have done. In our culture if we do something bad we qualify it with: “…oh, I was having a bad day” or “I didn’t get enough sleep last night”. It would be unusual to hear someone say: “yes, sorry, that was horrible of me” equally, after doing something kind or generous we don’t say: “that was because I had a good sleep”. If we do something good I think we like to own it as being a part of our character.
But if you ran screaming from the Christian or church that mentioned sin, then I am afraid you rather missed the point! It’s like hearing the introduction to a story and then leaving the room, never to learn about the plot… hearing the problem and leaving before you learn of the resolution.
Christians accept their sin. Their ability to do and be wrong. But they are offered a way out. We are told in the Bible that there is hope. That we can have help to be better. God tells us that we were made in ‘His image’ that even though we are messed up, he sees us as superheroes and princesses. That is not just the power of wishful thinking on His part!
If you have children, do you honestly see them as nasty little wotsits? Or do you think they are brilliant and have the potential to exceed the expectations of those around them? Is this wishful thinking? You see their mistakes on a daily basis, you saw them do a rather horrible thing the other day. So have you written them off? Of course not! You teach them, you tell them how great they are and you love them to bits.
This is what the Bible tells us God thinks of us. He created us and thinks we are “wonderfully and fearfully” made. He sees our potential and gently offers us help to be the best.
When one of my kids came to me and declared that they were fat and ugly the other day. I was so upset! We feel devastated when our children say these things, as we know what it is to feel unlovely and worthless.
God did not create us to feel unlovely or worthless. In the Bible he tells us exactly how much we are worth.
David from the Bible story has a few little stones and a catapult. Does this stop him fighting Goliath? Does he say ” actually, I’m just a kid …pretty short. In fact, I haven’t got a machine gun and none of your armour is going to fit me… So, I think I’ll just pop back to the field with my sheep, alright… o.k?” . In the story, David sees the little that he has and with the help of God he was able to believe he could defeat Goliath.
So if you see yourself as the pauper rather than the princess or the victim instead of the superhero maybe you could pray and ask God to to show you what you could be with his help. Self-help books can be great, accountability partners are brilliant, whether it’s to help us lose weight or work through a difficulty. But Jesus offers us the whole package. Firstly he loves us for who we are, he sees our faults, he offers us a way out by being sorry, and promises to walk with us whilst we head in a new direction.