Does he actually feel himself to be a terrible person?
I think Paul knew what it meant to accept who he was to him and more importantly to God.
It’s different than not thinking you have things about yourself that might need to change— a temper, cheating on your taxes, being an unforgiving person. But how do we look at those parts of ourselves alnd what do we do with them?
Maybe we come from a rough past, either through our fault or someone else. When we think we have parts of us that we hate, I wonder if that means we think we have a part of us that Christ hasn’t redeemed or can’t redeem.
Was that part of us not laid in the grave and brought back up again with Christ?
Are there relationships we have with others that don’t involve the whole of who we are? Now, I realize there is a difference between openness and wholeness. I’m not talking about giving out our PIN numbers or violating well-placed boundaries. But I wonder if we can begin to grasp a little bit that we should be in a “whole” relationship with ourselves and others, what would that mean for our wholeness with God? What form would that take?
We come to church sometimes with our emotions and feelings white-washed to make it all look and sound right for those around us. Why is that?
Do we deny God parts of ourselves because we think they will be unacceptable to God? Do we divide ourselves in our relationship with God?
Deuteronomy4, Psalm 6, Matthew 22 all talk about seeking, searching or loving God with our whole hearts. We usually interpret these to mean that we should do them as hard as we can, at the highest volume we can, for as long as we can.
While I don’t think that those are necessarily wrong ways of looking at it, I wonder what if God is looking for something different in those verses?
Christ talks about having the faith of a mustard seed. I don’t think he is saying that we should look to that because even if our faith is small (which is less than ideal) it can grow into something huge (which is ideal). I think he is saying to us that even though it is small, it is all mustard seed. Every bit of it is devoted to being a mustard seed. It’s not the intensity of its seediness, but the fact that the whole of it, big or small, is pointed towards one goal, one direction.
What if God is telling us to come to him with a wholeness of heart, the whole of everything we are?
So it is not necessarily the intensity of our actions but the unity of our hearts.
So the question becomes how do we come to a place of wholeness.
I imagine that we first have to understand that there are places in our relationships where we do not exercise wholeness. Then maybe we can start to accept who it is that God loves and whose sins he nailed to a tree once and for all eternity.