Stolen Identity, Divine Reality

I have been truly impacted by God speaking lately.... As I travel through life and begin to look deeper into the love God has for me... I am in awe of what I hear God saying to me. I have become more aware and saddened by the reality that the identity we hold in God’s love has been stolen from us through religion.

Let me share a moment of learning today!

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I am a preacher's kid, a former pastor and raised in the Bible Belt..... My whole life I have heard the phrase "Created in His Image".... "Being the image bearer of God"..... "being fearfully and wonderfully made"..... and being a "masterpiece who was knit together in your mother's womb"......

These are such powerful statements of our value and place with God. We are the beneficiaries of a divine DNA.... It was given to us at the moment God said, "Let us create man in our own image".... It was in that moment we were bestowed the inheritance of a divine DNA.

Yet, in the religious constructs of our culture, and many others.... The moment that we are face to face with the sins, the mistakes, the failings and the deviation from center in the lives of others and ourselves.... We no longer stand believing these former statements of value and identity.

It is, as if, somehow we have become a demigod or stronger than the creator when faced with these moments of sin and failure. What do I mean?

I mean that we then begin to say, in the face of sin and failure, that something is wrong, something is missing and something is not okay about who we are. It is as though our sin and failure somehow has the ability to erase God's DNA and identity from our very being. In those moments we begin to call the scriptures a lie.... and call into question the character of God himself.

We begin to assume God left something out, or we somehow have the ability to change God's design or simply nullify His place as the master craftsman who knit us together in our mother's womb.

Yes, when we are sinful, when we fail and we make mistakes.... We aren't always living up to the potential that God created in us and for us. And, there will be consequences as well. But, before you speak to yourself or others in their broken and messy places.... When you are faced with your failure or the failure of others....

Remember, God's DNA resides in all of us.

We are all fearfully and wonderfully made; God knit us together with his hands as a masterpiece.

When life gets messy, dirty and hard.... our identity still remains.

God is still in control.... and our value has not been changed!

So, will you listen more closely to the voice of religion, or to the words of God when you are faced with sin, failure and pain? Don’t let doubt, fear, lies and religion steal your identity given through the gift of God’s Divine DNA.

It's in the "Being"

This morning I was reading a story I have heard a million times. In Luke 7 there is a dialog between Jesus and Peter about forgiveness. The question is asked "How many times must I forgive?"..... The ensuing conversation includes the story of a king who forgives a huge debt. This is not a debt of great size, but rather an impossible debt. The king forgives the debt of a servant who would not and could not ever repay him, in 10 lifetimes! Yet, the man forgiveness refuses to extend the same gesture to a person who owes him a debt. 

Something struck me that has never been evident before. The forgiven servant had a really distorted mindset and did not see the beauty of his forgiveness. I’m not talking about his unforgiveness of the other man, I am talking about his self-centered and narrow minded view. He has been given immeasurable grace, something he did not deserve. He was released from a burden far too immense to carry after he pleaded with the king. He was made whole in that moment at no cost to himself. 

This is where his mindset was distorted and wrong…… In his display of unforgiveness to the one who owed him, he showed his heart. He believed that the debt he was forgiven was somehow based on his plea, his actions and his worth. It was as if the forgiveness he had received was something he had created. He chose to believe that the king heard his words and was swayed. 

But, I realized something today. The king was not swayed by this man or his words/actions in any way. Well, not until the moment he did not extend the same level of forgiveness to another man. The king’s choice to forgive was on the volition of his inner will, from his own heart and was not dependent on a single action or word of the one owing him. 

God’s forgiveness for us, God’s grace in our sin, God’s love in our broken reality has nothing to do with us. We are not a factor in the action or the decision. We are the recipients of a gift; of a benevolent and loving gesture. We are rescued from our messes simply because God chooses love and compassion for us. We cannot pray the right prayer, say the right words, act good enough or work hard enough. We simply get this forgiveness because of the love, actions and choice of God. 

You are offered forgiveness simply through being, and never through doing. 

Let that sink in…. When we grasp that Forgiveness is truly a gift given by someone else, we can find immense freedom. When we recognize that we are only capable of creating the need for forgiveness, but completely unable to create the means for forgiveness….. You can then find rest. And, you can begin to extend and offer forgiveness to others. No one can do enough, be enough or say enough to be worthy of forgiveness. Forgiveness is the ultimate display of radical grace…… Something that every one of us truly need in our lives.