If you’re from my generation, you will remember the old saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me.”
Is that true? Only in the sense that words don’t physically hurt, but they do hurt our hearts and souls.
Remember the statement:
“no one can consistently behave in a way that is inconsistent with how he perceives himself.”
As children, we form our self-perception based on the feedback we get from key people in our lives.
If we hear from our parents or siblings, “You’re stupid. You’re never gonna amount to anything. I wish you were never born,” we are going to see ourselves as stupid and the cause of everyone’s problems.
We might even think that everyone would be better off without us.
In contrast, our parents might speak nothing but praise and never constructively correct us, which can result in us never accepting responsibility for our mistakes and blameshifting onto others.
Suffice it to say, in either case, we get messed up self-perceptions no matter what messages we receive from others.
How do we solve this problem? It’s really rather simple.
We shift our attention to hear what God says about us.
Think about this:
if God thinks one thing, and our parents’ think another, who’s right? God.
Who’s easier to believe? Mom and Dad.
Why? Because their voice is louder than God’s still small voice.
God designed us to receive His unconditional love and acceptance.
Sin separated us from Him from conception.
So, we look to Mom and Dad for love and acceptance, which we may or may not get.
It’s inevitable that at some point we will be hit with unloving and unkind words.
If we internalize those words, we allow those who spoke them to define us instead of defining ourselves as God does.
Beloved, those of us who are in Christ are new creations.
The old identities as sinners have passed away and we have been born again as saints (holy ones) into God’s family.
God’s opinion of us is the only One that matters.
Growing in grace and the knowledge of Him includes seeing ourselves as He sees us and unhooking from the opinions of others.
If we get positive feedback from others, great; if not, let it go; their opinion is irrelevant.
Anyone we look to for love and acceptance besides God is an idol, and Satan will use them to make us feel insecure.
Our Abba always thinks well of us, and He wants us to see ourselves as He does.