Last night – the men’s group I attend was amazing. It was on the topic, “How does God see you?”

Our leader started out by asking us how we were assessed by our parents – what they said about us and to us about how they saw us. There was some reluctance to talk about it but once the resistance broke down, it became obvious that some felt valued and accepted, while a surprisingly large number felt devalued and rejected. Of course, I was in the latter group.

One of the points was that when Jesus first met Peter – he called him by name – and also told him of his future destiny – including a new name and new identity. God knew him for who he was – but saw in him who he would become. He was not judged for his failings and weakness – but was changed to become someone much stronger and better and his character was transformed.

Same with us – the feelings of worthlessness and low self-esteem are lies. God loves and accepts and values us.

Amazing quote:
*** “So Jesus is not ashamed to call them (that is US – as His followers!) brothers and sisters.” *** Heb 2:11

WOW – if Jesus is not ashamed of me – I don’t have any reason to feel ashamed of myself. I think his standards are more reliable than mine! And another incredible thing – if I am His brother – then God is my Father. (obviously!) I have always heard that Father name for God and had trouble believing it or feeling it was true – or just felt it wasn’t such a good thing – because my feelings about my dead real father and live step-father messed up my concept of fatherhood. By getting it more indirectly – this way – maybe because I have a good relationship with my full brother, I was able to let that truth sneak in through the back door – without having my defenses up so much. (The whole chapter is worth reading, especially verses 10-18.)

Another gem:
“God’s love is not dependent upon our performance or success. if we base our worth on our performance – success will make us egotistical – and failure will make us dysfunctional.”

At the end, he asked us to think of what we would have wanted our parents to say to us. I was thinking of what God said at the baptism of Jesus: “This is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased.” That was exactly what I needed to hear. During the closing prayer, he asked each of us to imagine God standing before us and saying the words of love and acceptance and affirmation that we needed to hear to be healed. He used exactly those words as part of the prayer: “This is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased.” Of course, tears were streaming down my face.

I’m still being surprised by God speaking and working in my life. And wondering why He took so long to show up. Guessing it has more to do with my awareness and openness – or the opposite - than anything else.

"My experience has shown me that I all too often tend to deny that which lies behind, but as I still believe, that which is denied cannot be healed." Brennan Manning, "All is Grace - A Ragamuffin Memoir"