And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good.”
In the last few weeks I’ve been praying to be more receptive to the every-moment-coming of Christ in my daily life. Last week I wrote an allegory about Christ knocking at the door of our hearts and helping us clean up our lives. This is an ongoing process for which I am very grateful.
Sometimes when Christ cleans up the mess we’ve made for ourselves, it’s dramatic and obvious to everyone. Other times, it’s subtle and happens gently, quietly. Like a plant growing, the change goes almost unnoticed until one day we realize we are transformed, just as a rose bud suddenly bursts open in full color after being such a tight bud for days.
I have come to appreciate this slower process, I think, because it seems to reach deeper into my heart and change things from the inside out.
When I was in 5th or 6th grade, my dad was concerned I was “not developing properly.” He took me to our multi-generational family doctor for an exam. Although the doctor couldn’t really find anything wrong with me, the experience made quite a negative impression on my budding sense of self-worth. Up until then, I had a pretty good opinion of myself, perhaps too good with more pride than was appropriate. But after the doctor’s exam and my dad’s concern that something was wrong with me, my self image took a turn for the worse.
The seeds of fear
The dark seed of fear had been planted in my heart. I kept imagining what might be wrong. In fact, I took on unconsciously a silent mantra: There’s something wrong with me. I couldn’t run as fast or throw a ball as far as the other kids at school. Instead of trying harder, I just accepted that there was something wrong with me.
For decades I imagined I was not as good, as healthy, as capable, as successful as others. I was constantly comparing myself and my actions to those around me and what they did. Often I judged myself better than others and in a rather self-righteous way. But usually it was the other way around; I saw others better than me, because There must be something wrong with me.
Years ago, it was so bad at times that if I would be driving around in a light rain with my windshield wipers on and saw someone else without their wipers going, I would think, I must be doing it wrong.
When I had to get a physical exam, from the same doctor, to go off to college, I was terrified of the chest x-ray. I just knew there was something wrong with me. But there wasn’t. It was just fear. I was actually surprised to be told I was in perfect health. And relieved!
Now, I must say, there were times when these negative self assessments were conquered to varying degrees and there were major and minor victories over many years. But just in the last few weeks there has been a serious purging of my heart. It’s one thing to invite Christ into your heart for the first time, but to do so on a daily basis over many years results in some very “deep cleaning.”
Secret chambers of the heart
I think we all have some hidden chambers of the heart where we store hurtful memories. We guard the door to these very private places under lock and key. But Christ has a way of sneaking past our best defenses to pick open the lock. That’s just what has happened to me.
Christ has, oh so gently, been at work getting rid of any remains of there’s-something-wrong-with-me. Christ has opened my ears and heart to hear God say quite forcefully, “There is nothing wrong with you!” It brings tears to my eyes.
That doesn’t mean I haven’t made mistakes. The Bible makes clear that we have all sinned in one way or another. But the sin is not part of who I am. It’s like mud the world has thrown on me or that I have jumped in. I may be covered in mud or just have a few smudges on my arm, but the dirt is not part of who I am, who God made me to be. That’s why He can say, “There is nothing wrong with you. There’s plenty wrong with the mud, your sins and the world’s ways and means, but none of that is ever part of who you really are as My child, made in My image and likeness.”
I feel baptized in spiritual newness and freedom to be who God made me to be. There’s a lightness of heart that’s hard to put into words.
“There is nothing wrong with you”
All this is true for you as well. God is saying to you, “There is nothing wrong with you.” I have talked to dozens of people who are burdened with guilt and the conviction that there is something inherently and innately wrong with them. Some of them I’ve been able to help see that it’s just a mindset that the carnal mind tricks us into accepting as our own, when in reality, it is its own nature. We are tempted to accept the carnal mind’s problems as our own.
It’s time to accept what God is telling you instead the serpent’s lies.
God has made you good. As the Bible verse at the top of this post says, God saw everything He made [that includes you] and it was very good.
That means you are very good. There is nothing wrong with you. You are precious in His eyes. Okay, so you sinned. We all have. Maybe a lot. Maybe a little. But God still loves you. Maybe you’re burdened with a disease or lack of employment or whatever. But the sin and the material circumstances are not part of your spiritual identity as God’s child. They are not part of your eternal heritage in the kingdom of heaven.
Did you ever play in the mud when you were a kid? I did. Sometimes I came home so dirty it surprised my parents. But they still loved me. They knew the mud would come off. And of course, it always did.
That’s the way God sees you. He always loves you. He knows the sins and any ailments or problems aren’t part of who you really are as His child. He knows how to wash them away. In fact He sent His Son to scrub off all that “mud.” When my kids were still young enough to need help taking a bath, I would say to them, “God’s truth is the soap that gets the dirt loose. God’s love is the water that washes it all down the drain.”
This is true for you and me as well. God’s truth and love wash us clean. And when we hear Him say, “There is nothing wrong with you,” we will believe it, accept it, and jump for joy.
Blessings to you,
P.S. If you found this helpful, please let me know in the comments below and share it with a friend.