Monday, December 29, 2008

"He loved me for I am"

As a youth pastor I always have one ear open for recurring themes within the high school generation's culture. Today I heard yet another hurt young lady say that the reason she dated and stayed with a particular hurtful and selfish young man is that he "loved her for who she was." Time and time again this mantra is repeated by young ladies to defend their choices in romance. Usually we hear it come from dejected, self-conscious young girls with little to no self confidence. And so they try to find that confidence somewhere.

Unfortunately, this same mantra can be heard by many adults as well who, instead of dealing with difficulty, choose to hide and isolate themselves from the problem and consequently anything related to the problem. A particular example that I have seen recently is a pastor who could not handle the pressures of being "The Guy". The one that everyone looked to for vision, leadership, counsel etc. As a result he emotionally and mentally isolated himself from the church, his family and his elder board. He felt that everyone wanted something from him. And so in the act of isolating himself he hid in another woman's bed. And that is when the mantra was espoused as an excuse for his adultery, "She loves me for who I am."

God has shown us that there is a different path to take than isolation and hiding. There is another source of confidence and strength when ours seems depleted. There really is a person who loves us. But not for who we are but because of who He is. And again not for who we are but despite who we are. That is grace. The Holy God, Creator of the Universe, knows us better than we know ourselves. He knows the depth of our compassion, kindness and love because He enables us to do those things. And he also knows that extreme depth of our sin because it was our sin that was placed upon his shoulders on the cross. That person is Jesus Christ.

So when we feel depleted, dejected, rejected and lonely lets remember Paul's account in 2 Corinthians 12:8,9:

"8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me."

He knows us best of all. Yet he still loves us.