Sunday, July 31, 2011

Because he loves me

I get my weekly dose of feel-good-about-myself-music in the grocery store. While I shop for food, people on the radio sing about what a wonderful human being I am. That I am amazing, and perfect -- just the way I am. There is nothing they would change, they say, because I was born this way.

I'm glad Hans doesn't tell me things of that sort.

Recently, I made a mistake. The same kind of mistake that I made for the 798th time. Except this time, Hans bore the brunt of the consequences. Because I was careless, my husband suffered.

As always, he forgave me. I married a kind man. He comforted me, and gently encouraged me -- to change.

It wasn't pleasant to hear, of course. But it was the most loving, the most hope-filled thing that he could say to me. He didn't give up on me, or leave me to be the way that I was. My husband believed that I could change because he loved me. Because he loved me, I wanted to change.

"Love yourself." This is the first commandment in the religion of self-esteem. It is the chant of our generation.

I was once a preacher of this religion, along with those singers on the radio. When I was teaching in juvenile prisons and teen pregnancy centers, I gave each girl a bookmark with the words "love yourself" on it. I now cringe at the thought that a few girls even said they were going to make tattoos of  these words. I hope they didn't. And if they did, I hope they will forgive me.

My problem is not that I don't love myself. On the contrary, my problem is that I only love myself. There are other (less flattering) words to describe this: selfish, self-centered, self-righteous. I was born this way.

I don't want to remain the way that I am. I want to change. I want to love others more than I love myself. But I don't. And on my own, I am unable to change. I make the same mistake 798 times.

When I was deep in my rebellion, Christ died in my place. He didn't give up on me, or leave me to be the way that I was. He rescued me, and set me free -- so I am able to love God and love others.

My Lord is changing me because he loves me.
Because he loves me, I want to change.

1 comment:

Ruth Soong said...

Amen. Irene I resonate with you so much. We only love ourselves and it is a sweet (though hard) thing to see that we need to change. It is lonely too a lot of times, because the people around you all live differently. Thankful that Hans isn't like that =)