Wednesday, December 30, 2015

The Good and the Bad

I handed 10 young adults pens and paper and assured them that no one would see their responses. "On one side of the paper, write five things you don't like about yourself." Within one minute, all 23 had their answers.
"On the second side, write five things you truly like about yourself."
After what seemed an appropriate time, I asked how many had filled out the first side with five answers. Every hand went up. "How many of you wrote five things you like about yourself?" Six of them raised their hands.
As the experiment proved, we're able to tick off the negatives. We remain conscious of our shortcomings. That thought reminds me of many church services where they have a time called "confession of sin," which is done silently. Afterward, the leader follows with an "assurance of pardon.”
Christian theology reminds us that we all fail. But we do little in life to help people look at the positives in their personalities. Some would say that to do so would lead to pride and boasting.
Maybe they're correct. But somewhere between "God, be merciful to me a sinner" and "In Jesus Christ we are forgiven," wouldn't it be nice to have a segment called "affirming ourselves"?
Too often we're reluctant to acknowledge our good qualities. We'd like them to be true, but to admit that seems as if we're bragging. And yet if they're true and we don't accept them, aren't we denying the truth?
Have you ever wondered how difficult it must have been for Moses to write that he was the most humble man in the world? (See Numbers 12:3.) He did it because he realized he hadn't made himself humble. He merely admitted what God had already done in his life. Maybe we need to think like Moses.
If there are good parts of ourselves we haven't accepted, isn't that saying we haven't fully received God's gifts to us?

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