From Brennan Manning (1998):
“Blessed are those who know that they are poor” (NEB). We must know who we are. How difficult it is to be honest—to accept that I am unacceptable, to renounce self-justification, to give up my preposterous pretending that my paltry prayer, spiritual insights, knowledge of Scripture, and blustering successes in ministry have made me pleasing to God. No antecedent beauty enamors me in his eyes. I am lovable because he loves me. Period. The first step in liberation from self-hatred is to move from the darkness of self-delusion into the daylight of God’s truth (p. 247).
Baby Luke arrived on the scene earlier than expected at the end of August. He arrived with nothing to commend him to us – he hadn’t done any great things, hadn’t invented anything, hadn’t brought anyone to Jesus – but we loved him deeply long before we ever laid eyes on him! Here, almost two months later, as far as I know he still hasn’t given us any deep spiritual insights or even helped his mama clean house. I believe he is still waking his folks up at night, fighting sleep, and demanding to be fed when he is hungry. But we still love him deeply and are delighted he is now here, a part of our family.
Somehow, even though it sounds bad to say it out loud, I don’t tend to see God’s love toward me as free as our family’s love toward Luke. When I feel good and am able to do, accomplish, and perform, I feel loved. On a day when I am exhausted and crabby, I don’t feel loveable or of any use to God. Now in my mind I know that God loves me more than we could ever love little Luke, but my heart isn’t as fast to get it. The solution? As Manning said, I need to “accept that I am unacceptable.” Nothing I can do will make me more acceptable to God. Add to that another bit of wisdom from Manning, “I am lovable because he loves me. Period.”
Lord, please help us to see ourselves as you see us – as your dearly loved children. In Jesus’ name, Amen
Manning, B. Reflections for Ragamuffins. New York, NY: HarperCollins Publisher, Inc., 1998. Print.