I really hope you sang that last part in your head, or even out loud. At some point, everyone struggles with who they are. We often go on a deep search to “find ourselves” while ending our search with how other’s perceive who we are. The truth is, other’s probably don’t know our true selves because we often hide what may be culturally considered undesirable traits. How can someone else really know us when we don’t show who we truly are? We often wear masks to show the world the best side of us while we hide the ugliest parts.
There is one person who sees through the charade though, Jesus. He already knows everything about you. The good, the bad and the ugly are in plain view for Him to see. He is the Light and no dark, shadowy corners can hide anything in His presence. That “secret sin” that nobody knows about is clear as day for Him. The anger inside of you that you hide with a gracious smile, He sees. The jealousy towards others who have the earthly things that you desire, He’s well aware of that too.
A common saying amongst Christians is that “We are all sinners.” I kind of feel like this is a pretty crappy way of looking at ourselves and those around you. Sinning isn’t an identity, it’s an action and doesn’t define who we are. Sometimes we identify ourselves by our hobbies or careers; I’m a guitarist, I’m a crafter, I’m a lawyer. But are those actually identities or just things that we enjoy? They may define a skill or interest, but not really an identity. Actions and hobbies aren’t necessarily who we are.
I really enjoy the song For The Fallen by For Today, a Christian metal core band from a few years ago. The chorus goes : “Your are not what you’ve done, and this is not who you are. No matter how far you’ve run, you have not gone too far.” I think that this very accurately sums up what I’m thinking.
Our actions are not who we are. We cannot sin so much that we can’t go to God.
There are numerous descriptions of the people who follow Jesus as the children of god. “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called the children of God; and so we are.” (1 John 3:1) “But all who did receive Him, who believed in His name, he gave the right to become children of God.” (John 1:12) And I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty.” (2 Corinthians 6:18) And the list goes on.
So our identity is defined by God Himself as children of God. Not as a person who sins against God or as the black sheep of the family that nobody likes. We are children of God, plain and simple. And God is Love, which means that God loves each and every one of us. Even when we rebel in teenage angst and color our hair crazy colors while wearing all black and listening to metal music as loud as possible. Even when we are a jock that goes around and bullies the nerds. Even when we are bullied and hate everything about our lives. We are still children of God, and He loves us.
Those of you who have children will understand, no matter how much your child may upset you, you will always love them. You may not always like them or their choices, but you will always love them. And as humans, our love isn’t perfect, but God’s love is! We can never do anything that will make God hate us. It’s in His nature to love us no matter what.
The story of the prodigal son in Luke 15:11-32 is a great example of this. A son decides that he wants to collect his inheritance from his father early, which in this culture meant that the son basically wished his father was dead and thought of him as such. He then goes off and squanders all of his money on the sex, drugs and rock and roll lifestyle and ends up as in a situation where his life was so horrible, that he realized that even pigs ate better than he did. He chose to return to his father and ask him to accept him back as a servant since he wasn’t deserving to be called his son. His father welcomed him home with open, loving arms and had a large feast to celebrate his son returning home, even after how he was treated by him and the life he led when he left. He loved his son, no matter what had happened.
Matthew 18:10-14 is another parable that Jesus uses to explain God’s love. It’s the parable of the lost sheep. A shepherd is in charge of 100 sheep and realizes that 1 has gone missing. He leaves the 99 and goes searching for the 1 lost sheep to find him and bring him home. Jesus is out there searching for each person who is lost. He wants to find them so they can go home, to the Father in Heaven. No matter how lost we are, he searches to find us and save us from ourselves. A shepherd loves each sheep in their flock and Jesus loves each and every one of us.
No matter the lifestyle that we may have lived at some point, we can return to God and He will accept us lovingly, with arms wide open and a huge celebration in heaven for the return of the wayward son or the lost sheep. If you have addictions to substances, porn, money, the “good life”, or if you value the things of this world over the things of heaven. If you have stolen or cheated on your spouse. If you have been a real piece of garbage to your neighbor, you can return home to God. He will not hold it against you, because Jesus has already paid the price for your sin. Instead, He will fill you with the Holy Spirit and change your heart so you desire to follow Him and live your life in a much better and more meaningful way than you have before.
We are children of God and we are deeply loved, even when we feel we don’t deserve it. He loves us more than we could ever know and the sooner that we realize and accept this, the sooner we can let His love heal our wounds.