Judging from the billions of dollars of beauty products that are sold every year, it appears that we really don’t like what we see in the mirror every morning. Sadly, there is a short step from this to thinking that others see us in the same way, and eventually imagining that God views us in this light.
What we need to keep in mind is the fact that God looks upon us with different eyes. While it’s true that he looks upon the heart instead of our outward appearance, nevertheless, even our hearts are not very attractive until he works on them. The truth is that he loves us with a real love even before we come to him; he cares deeply for us while we are yet sinners. So we’re dealing with a quality of love that we know little about.
And even after our conversion, he looks upon our spiritual condition, he sees not our own righteousness, but the righteousness of his perfect Son. He sees Christ’s righteousness in us, because Jesus transferred his righteousness to our account. So there is not even a minute when he sees us as ugly or repulsive. We must never think that God is like us when it comes to love. He simply finds us lovable even when we don’t know why.
There may be a hundred reasons why we aren’t particularly excited about ourselves: the way we look, what our personalities are really like, unappealing or “dark” sides to us, and all the rest. But there’s an important key to unlock for us the escape hatch from this trap. The apostle Paul had a personal solution to this problem of identity. He passed it on to us: It didn’t matter to him how others rated him; it didn’t even matter how he rated himself! (But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself. -1 Corinthians 4:3). He had plenty in his life to regret (he had been a killer of Christians—a terrorist!), but he accepted no one’s judgment of him except God’s. In time, he reached the point where the only thing that carried any weight with him was what God thought and said about his children. And God declared that, as his people, we are his beloved family. Period.
To keep our focus on ourselves is always a dead end. Either we’ll think too much of our own importance, or too little. We’ll conclude either that we’re kings and queens of the universe, or worms that don’t deserve to be noticed. A great deal of our self-image stems from the opinions of others around us: parents, siblings, friends, co-workers, our boss, competitors, and so forth. All that may be important as far as our careers and other earthly matters are concerned, but when it comes to what really counts—God’s view of us—it’s all completely irrelevant.
Can loving parents look upon their beloved child and say, “What an ugly baby?” I’ve never heard that, have you? There’s a reason for this: they can’t, because their eyes are filled with an extraordinary love for the little person before them. For the normal, healthy parent the child is absolutely gorgeous. And when the baby smiles back at them, it’s the most beautiful thing they’ve ever seen.
We can learn much about God’s personality and character from parents (healthy ones), because God has stamped his image upon us, and it shows through most clearly when relating to our children. I think parenthood—particularly becoming a parent—more than anything else, guides our thinking of how God sees us. This seems to be the reason why the Bible so often compares our relationship with God in these terms.
This is one very good reason to keep the Scriptures in front of us every day. It’s so easy to forget what God says about us amidst the daily flood of negative opinions about us from the outside. We come to believe what we hear all the time, about almost anything. Unrelenting bad news, about us or the world around us, will eventually take its toll by shaping the way we see things.
Letting the Bible gather dust on the living room table is a sure and certain way to giving in to these negative evaluations that fill the information highway. It’s our source of what’s true about God, the world, our present, our future, and what we should think about it all.
So you feel ugly, undesirable, unlovable? Turn away from this false and ungodly image of yourself. It’s not only distorted and untrue by any measure, it’s demonic in origin, and is designed to drive you away from your Creator and turn you to resenting him.
Theology Mix suggests:
In our current social climate of growing distrust and escalation of hatred and personal losses, resentment and anger are on the rise. Resenting God offers the time-tested exit route from the lethal clutches of bitterness into a life of joyful faith and hope in a loving and gracious God. It exposes how resentment and disillusionment, leading inevitably to other destructive emotions, is a great deluder and is itself often based upon a great delusion—resentment against the Creator himself. We are blamers, and we blame God for life’s most painful and depressing experiences.
We’ve all been there or are there. It can strike any person, anytime, anywhere. If we let down our guard and begin to give in to it, we’ll be pulled into a powerful downward spiral that we can’t escape by our own strength. We find ourselves asking: How can I forgive when the pain is so great? Does forgiving mean I have to forget the past? What if I choose not to forgive?
Snyder discusses the causes and consequences of resentment, and the cures for resentment against God. Ultimately, the way out comes in knowing who God is and realizing that far from abandoning us in our hard times, he is the one who rescues us.