Thursday, November 25, 2010

Seeing yourself as God sees you

1 Praise the LORD, my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
2 Praise the LORD, my soul,
and forget not all his benefits—
3 who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,
4 who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion,
5 who satisfies your desires with good things

so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

6 The LORD works righteousness
and justice for all the oppressed.

7 He made known his ways to Moses,
his deeds to the people of Israel:
8 The LORD is compassionate and gracious,
slow to anger, abounding in love.
9 He will not always accuse,
nor will he harbor his anger forever;
10 he does not treat us as our sins deserve
or repay us according to our iniquities.

11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his love for those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

13 As a father has compassion on his children,
so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him;
14 for he knows how we are formed,
he remembers that we are dust.
15 The life of mortals is like grass,
they flourish like a flower of the field;
16 the wind blows over it and it is gone,
and its place remembers it no more.
17 But from everlasting to everlasting
the LORD’s love is with those who fear him,
and his righteousness with their children’s children—
18 with those who keep his covenant
and remember to obey his precepts.

Praise the LORD, my soul.

Psalm 103:1-18

If someone tells us we are worthless once, we might brush it off.
If someone tells us we are worthless twice, we might start to get angry.
If someone tells us, over and over again, that we are worthless.. we might actually start to believe them.

In the face of a person in front of us, telling us we are worthless, how do we combat that? Fortunately, we are not alone. We have a creator who loves us fiercely. We have a creator who doesn't care where we've been, what trouble we've got ourselves into, what we've done, or even what we will do. Or rather, He doesn't care about our sins because they can never separate us from Him or diminish our worth in His eyes.

Psalm 103 sings of how God forgives our sins, heals diseases, and redeems us.
3 who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,
4 who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion,

Nowhere in the Psalm does David sing that we will not ever sin. He does not sing that we won't need healing. He does not sing that our lives won't need redeeming. We are going to need all of these things, because on Earth, this side of heaven, there is sin, trial. All of us at some point in our lives find ourselves spiraling towards a pit. It seems bottomless. We look up, but we can't see light. We think we've gotten in so much trouble, we've done too many bad things, we can't see an end to our misery - we can't see our redemption. David does not sing that this won't happen. But, he does sing that when (not if) we find ourselves in this pit, we WILL be redeemed.

God doesn't see you as most people on Earth see you. Here, people often have labels. People misjudge, make assumptions. People can be jaded and unmerciful, unwilling to forgive or look past our inevitable flaws. God looks past our flaws, He forgives our sins, and he sees us without them. When God looks at us, He sees the best side of us. He sees us as someone worth loving. He sees us as someone worth sacrificing everything for - including his Son - to save.

When it comes to self worth, I don't think it matters where you are, what age, what gender, what circumstances or condition you find yourself in. Regardless of where they are from, all of them have trouble seeing themselves as worthy. Seeing themselves as God sees them: someone worth everything.

As I write this, it's in the wee hours of Thanksgiving morning. I'm excited about visiting the juvenile detention center tomorrow, and I wanted to have a study prepared for them about self-worth. It occurs to me that we have much to be thankful for. I pray that God speaks through me and helps me to see the kids I'm ministering to as He does. And that He can show these kids to look at themselves the way God looks at them.

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