We Treat Others the Way We Think About Ourselves
Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved (Ephesians 1:4-6). We usually project into our relationships what we feel about ourselves. If I don’t feel accepted by God and others, then I will withdraw and I will have the tendency to criticize others in my thoughts. A person may have a genuine motive of concern and a heartfelt desire to relate to me, but if I think negatively about myself, I will judge their actions toward me in a negative light. Until we know that we are loved by the Father and fully accepted by Him, relationships will be difficult. The best thing that I can do to help myself in relating to others is to come to a clear understanding of how the Father views me. The greatest change came in my own life when I saw that in Christ Jesus I am totally forgiven of all my past failures; that my past deeds are remembered no more by the Father; that I am accepted in the beloved; that God is now for me and not against me; that I am His workmanship, His own handiwork; that the Father has given me the same standing in heaven that His Son has before the Him. These truths free me from condemnation and fear. They breed within me faith and trust. Self-doubt is such an enemy of relationships and closeness. The fear of being rejected taunts us all. Knowing that you are adopted into the family of God and with that adoption comes all the privileges of a natural born son or daughter to God. Years ago the Father challenged me with 1 Corinthians 4:3-4 in the J.B. Phillips translation: But, as a matter of fact, it matters very little to me, what you, or any man, thinks of me – I don’t even value my opinion of myself. Paul was challenged with his past in city after city as he travelled. He once persecuted believers, committing them to prison or having them stoned. No doubt that children and family members of the deceased reminded Paul of what he did to ruin their family life. Paul had to forgive himself and rely on the mercy of God. He had to choose to no longer judge himself. He had to choose to believe the best of himself and others. Love believes the best of every person. Love expects the best and never thinks the worst. Start with yourself. Believe that the Father loves you unconditionally and accepts you right now just the way you are. Believe that He has cleansed all your misdeeds and now treat you as though you had never done wrong. Instead of expecting to be rejected by others, choose to believe the best of them. Expect to be excepted when you walk into a room full of people. Expect others to be pleasant and kind when you engage them in conversation. We usually receive what we give. Expect to be used by the Lord to encourage others today. Expect Him to give you the tongue of the learned, that you would know how to speak an appropriate word of encouragement to each person you meet today (see Isaiah 50:4). Think about yourself the way the Father thinks about you. Believe the best of others and look for the best in others today. Relationships are easier when you’re confident in who you are in Christ Jesus!