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You are beloved

Fr Chris Thomas encourages us to see ourselves as God sees us and not through the prism of our weakness and sins.

Many years ago before it was as popular as it is today I researched my family history.

My mum and dad were dead and I wanted to know where we came from.

I think I was probably struggling to find my identity now that my parents had gone.

To some degree it helped.

At least I knew our background and what in my family history had made me who I was.

I discovered that in our family there had been lots of mental health issues.

Because of that I found that I began to say things like ‘well I got off lightly with a bit of depression”.

What else could I have expected with the sort of background and family history I had?

I eventually realised that while all that was true, and mattered, I could not stay there constrained by all I had discovered.

I was more than my history.

People don’t have any real sense of identity

I was listening recently to a young man who said that the biggest crisis in the world today amongst young people, but I don’t think it’s limited to age, is that people don’t have any real sense of identity.

He used two fictional characters from the world of film to illustrate the point - James Bond who had a very clear sense of his own identity and Jason Bourne from ‘The Bourne Identity’ who is struggling to discover himself.

He said that today most people are like Jason Bourne. We don’t know who we are.

If you can have a favourite Gospel I would say that mine is Luke’s.

I think it’s probably because I’m a story teller and Luke more than any of the other evangelists tells stories and has Jesus telling stories.

Just after Jesus has Peter put out his nets for a catch in chapter four of the Gospel, Peter says to Jesus ‘Leave me Lord I’m a sinful man’.

He knew that he was a mess.

He knew his weakness and his sin and so his first response to Jesus was to back off. He felt he was not good enough, able enough or even worthy enough.

The whole mission of Jesus was to help us see with different eyes

Peter makes the same mistake that I think we all do.

He doesn’t really know the truth of who he is.

Most of us listen to the voice within that is programmed through the events of our lives to tell us that we are not good enough.

And we believe it.

Thank God that we are always more than what has been in our families and we are not defined by the mess of our lives and the sin and the shame that dog us.

We do not have to be held in the shackles of our poor self-image and the feelings we have of not being good enough and worthy enough, because that is not how God sees us.

I often think to myself the whole mission of Jesus was to help us see with different eyes.

That is what biblical repentance is all about and that primarily starts with recognising who we are in God’s sight.

You are a child of God. You are Son. You are Daughter.

You have a dignity and a value and a worthiness that has nothing to do with you but which is the gifting of God. That’s our identity.

What Jesus does by saying to Simon ‘I will make you into a fisher of people’ is to move him away from that preoccupation with his own sinfulness and his Uriah Heap attitude towards himself, and to let him see that he is more, and that God is more than he has ever imagined.

I discovered that I was more than I had ever imagined. I was a child of God

The biggest conversion experience in my life was when I realised at a gut level that I was a child of God.

I discovered that I was more than I had ever imagined. I began to understand that I was of immense value and that my life was worth something.

I realised that my over preoccupation with my poor self image was choking the life out of me.

I decided instead to begin to believe what the Scriptures told me about myself and as time went on my whole understanding of life, the world and others, began to change.

Know who you are in the sight of God.

Let God tell you who you are and pray each day that you will be set free from anything that stops you knowing that you are beloved.


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