Do you feel good about yourself? Me too! I’ve been a Christian my whole life and I’ve never felt bad about myself. God made me who I am. He doesn’t make any junk. God thought so much about me – warts’n all! – that he sent his Son to buy me, body and soul.
That little confession of faith is foreign to so many people on the outside looking into Christianity. They can’t understand my… chipper attitude about being a Christian. They wonder if I’ve studied what Lent is all about. They ask, “Has he heard the weekly confession they say all together?” “I, a pour miserable sinner, confess unto thee (my God) all my sins and iniquities (a fancier word for sin that implies guilt) with which I have offended thee.” THAT statement is truly offensive to many, but to me it’s a reality of life.
This is the problem. If you don’t know Jesus, you can never understand the peace he has won for the world. So where to begin? First I like to acknowledge the truth – really two truths.
Truth #1 – Everyone wants to feel good about themselves. Sure. Self-loathing isn’t really helpful.
Truth #2 – (This is the hard one.) I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do – this I keep on doing. (Romans 7:18-19)
When I look at those two truths, I might start to have a panic attack. How can I feel good about myself when I act that way?! The Christian falls on his or her knees before the cross and finds peace in Jesus. What do you do if you’re not a Christian? I can’t speak personally – from the heart – I’ve never been there, but I’ve heard it’s rough. I have to lie. Either I lie to myself about who I really am, or I lie to myself about who God really is. Either way I have to tell myself that ignorance is bliss – feel good and take that participation trophy.
“I want to feel good about myself,” has always struck me as a wide open invitation for a Christian witness. If you would like to see that example, watch this week’s lesson in our series Not Sorry: Apologetics.