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September 1, 2011

Sometimes when a guy is in love you might hear the line that she ‘makes him want to be a better man.’  A little sappy, sure, but I like it.  Even if it’s become somewhat of a platitude or an opinion a guy is expected to have, it’s the kind of thing I want to be true.  It’s certainly true in my life that the people I care about are a great motivator.  And I think God made us this way, because life is constantly on the edge of being intolerable and we have to always be looking to help each other up.  I have this friend, whenever I think about them I think of one of their favorite things to quote, “be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”

The message at church this week was about the grace of God.  In it the pastor talked about this concept in social psychology called the ‘looking glass self.’  Basically it’s a theory that says a person becomes what they think others perceive them as.  This can mess a person up beyond belief.  If someone has a parent who resents them, they begin to resent themselves.  If a person is abused by someone close to them, over time their self-image gets so twisted that they hate themselves as much as their abuser does.

But the opposite is true too.  For so long I had no motivation, and pretty much convinced myself there wasn’t anything to look forward to.  All I had was someone telling me I was smart and talented, and success should have been easy but since I hadn’t achieved it, I was a failure.  So I believed it.  For years.  But you know, all it really took was a new person to come into my life, to take an interest, to cheer for me and say they believed in me.  They probably don’t even know that they did it.  Sometimes all we need is someone who cares about us as we are, and sees us as we could be.  Someday I will thank that person properly.


And I think that is a perfect picture of the grace of God.  Almost every relationship we will ever have is in some way conditional, except for that one.  It’s shocking, and our minds are constantly rejecting it.  If we are lucky, maybe we will have had one person in our life that loved us no matter what.  For me it has always been my mother.  And personally, when I think about the things I’ve done that I wished I hadn’t, the way I’ve treated people, and thought to myself that even then, I was able to go to her and all she had for me was grace.  Without condoning, her attitude was simply, I know you, the good and the bad, and I love you, and that’s the most important thing.

God is like that!  One of the last things Jesus said was “love one another as I have loved you.”

For me it has always ended up pointless to have discussions about God because they always end up boiling down to technicalities and trivial details.  People can believe what they want to, and that’s a great thing.  But I really truly believe that God is real and that he made us to be the object of his affection.  And when we think of that person who was our safe haven, who protected and rescued us even at great personal cost to themselves, it’s worth considering that really that was a gift from God.

Just something to think about.

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