It is difficult to think and feel about ourselves in Godly ways. Many of us think that the prodigal son got it right. He had a well-practiced speech: "I am no longer worthy". How like our speeches to ourselves! If you hear about your unworthiness often enough, especially in childhood, and if you internalize the speech thoroughly, it becomes a part of you. Many of us know this particular speech so well that we can feel unworthy for no particular reason. We do not feel unworthy because of something we have done or said. We feel unworthy because of who we are. Many of us even think that the more unworthy we feel, the more likely the Father will be to welcome us back home!
But the Father responds quite differently from the prodigal's expectations. The Father was 'filled with compassion' and he ran to his son and he kissed him. When the prodigal finally got his speech out, the Father did not spend time arguing the point. Instead he 'honored' the son with a robe, a ring and a feast. He treated the prodigal in ways designed to build a very different kind of self understanding.
Our goal is to learn to think and feel about ourselves in ways that are consistent with the way God thinks and feels about us. God's perspective is a surprising contrast to our own. God does not join our internal chorus which is so persistent at proclaiming our unworthiness. Instead God says "You are my child. You are loved!"
Lord, I have not learned to think and feel about myself in healthy ways.
Teach me to think and feel about myself
in ways that are consistent with the way you think and feel about me!
Help me to listen when you say "I love you".
Help me to take it in.
Copyright Dale and Juanita Ryan
National Association for Christian Recovery