Last Sunday night I had the privelidge of preaching on Luke 15-17 and narrowing it down on the story of the prodigal son. I used the theme of stinken thinken. During the course of the sermon I asked this series of questions.
- Are you at peace with yourself.
- Are you at peace with God.
- Do you like yourself.
I was amazed at the sheer number of people who didn’t put their hands up. It was close to 90 percent of the congregation who said no to all of these questions. I expected a number of people to say no. Lets face it – there are times when our experiences of life become so soul destroying and crushing that we have to say NO! I am not with peace with myself. I am not at peace with God and no I do not like myself.
But – and this is a big BUT – God continually draws us to himself, reconciling, loving and renewing us. I know its a big question and perhaps its full of theological pitfalls whether we are to love and like ourselves. Yet its my contention that we are to do so.
Firstly God created all of humanity and said it was GOOD. He liked what he saw… yes all of humanity sinned and yes we have all fallen short of the glory of God… but isn’t this the point of Christ. He has reconciled us to him. In, through and over us we are washed clean with the blood of the lamb. And God calls us good!
The question I ask is – How can we not like – what God has called Good!
By liking ourselves we come in line with what God sees in us. It allows us to have peace…for we do have peace with God. It also frees us to like others – for God also likes others…how much do we like others? Shouldn’t we like those God likes?
I have come through the journey of a soul crushing divorce stemming from an abusive marriage. I know what it is like to suddenly face severe health limitations that required a few months of hospitalisation. I know what it is like to have a sense of God being far from me and not liking myself…even self loathing and hatred.
Yet God in his mercy continued to draw me to himself. Revealing his nature and causing me to honestly reflect on my life in the light of what he has done… and within this frame work I have peace with God and therefore have peace with my self… and despite myself – I can like myself… because after all – God likes me better than I ever can.
What about you – does God like you?