23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. 26 It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. Romans 3:23-26 ESV
I’m a college freshman, a teenager, single, always trying to figure out my faith. I have beautiful, talented, intelligent, faithful friends. Do you know what that adds up to? Sometimes, a whole heck of a lot of self-esteem issues.
We all struggle a lot with our view of ourselves and trying to figure out if we “fit in” to the world around us. The world tells us to fit in, you have to be the same, look the same, do the same things as certain people around you. To fit into one group, you have to look and act one way, but if you want to be part of another, you have to be different.
Often, we pick out one or two things we really don’t like about ourselves. That isolated thing makes us believe we’re not pretty enough, not smart enough, not good enough. Maybe it’s your hair, maybe you have a stutter. I’m not very good in front of crowds, and I get very awkward when talking to groups of people sometimes. Sometimes the fear of letting people see these things keeps us from doing more.
And sometimes, the world doesn’t tell us any different. We see the photoshopped pictures on Magazine covers, only the most talented singers on “The Voice”, and the most eloquent speakers on TV. It’s easy to feel your self-esteem drop.
But what about the Kingdom of God? What does God tell us through His amazing Word? My friend and I discussed the question of acceptance, and she was brilliant in turning it around saying “Is there anyone God doesn’t accept?”
There is not a single person around us that God does not love, accept, pursue, seek, long for.
“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10 ESV
We are surrounded be people who, no matter their intentions, still may not accept us. We may not “fit in” to every group, every circle, club. But God is with us in all circumstances. He is the one who loves us and accepts us, faults and all.
I love the story Paul tells about Jesus in the book of John when the Pharisees and the Scribes bring a woman to Him who has been caught in adultery. They demand she be disciplined, but Jesus turns it around to say “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” None of us are without sin, none without fault. God loves us unconditionally. He accepts us as we are, faults and all. So what do we do with that? We’re called to turn it back and reflect that to others. We are called to show others that love and point it right back to Jesus. How can you be reaching out to people and reflecting that unconditional love today?