I read a blog this week by author Scott Sauls, who pastors Christ Presbyterian Church in Nashville. I haven’t read it yet, but he recently released a book Beautiful People Don’t Just Happen: How God Redeems Regret, Hurt, and Fear in the Making of Better Humans. I’m definitely intrigued.
He writes about struggling to forgive himself for foolish or mean things he did years ago. He reminds us that Satan is accuser who likes to remind us of things we regret to the point of defining ourselves by shame. But God. God has grace upon grace and the Bible is full of people who came clean about their wrongs, showing it to be a healthy thing allowing them to more forward and grow better.
Sauls said, “Transparency about our unfinished selves is far better than relying on false, wishful verdicts about ourselves as we nudge God out of the picture. Self-esteem is overrated. Only an esteem that comes from beyond us – namely from the forgiveness, favor, and freedom achieved for us by Jesus – will be able to help, hold, and sustain us.” (https://annvoskamp.com/2022/06/ever-feel-shame-regret-guilt-read-this/)
I love this word picture. This world encourages us to build our self-esteem, stand up for ourselves and be our own cheerleaders. But more often than not, that attitude doesn’t get us very far, or it even takes us in the wrong direction. I’m “preaching to the mirror” and encourage myself and you to embrace the grace and freedom of letting our identities be defined only by Christ.
Our world is ever-changing, it’s one of the few inevitabilities. But we, with God’s help, can determine how we change – for better or for worse. I can’t speak for you, but I want to change for the better. But I sometimes struggle to do so. Maybe that’s because pride has sometimes kept me from being transparent, or from offering grace to myself.
As much as I would like to sometimes, I can’t fix everything at once. But I can always remind myself of God’s truth.
Lamentations 3:22-23 – Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
You are loved!