Have you seen them on the side of the road? On a freeway off-ramp or a city intersection?
They hold up handwritten signs: “Homeless — will work for food” or “Needy — please help.” In those few seconds, before you make the turn or the light changes, it’s easy to see just the sign, just the circumstances. But have you ever really stopped to look at their faces, or do you accept the sign at face value? It’s easy to identify them with their “condition” and whatever regrettable circumstances brought them begging for money and food.
It’s so sad what people are reduced to, you may think to yourself. God would agree.
Cathy wore her large sign at all time. It said “unworthy.” She’s been instructed to make and wear this sign growing up. In the midst of a household full of other children with a distant father and a controlling mother, Cathy was the “unworthy” child. Other children in the family were given signs such as “favored” or “accepted.” For reasons she could never quite grasp, which became irrelevant to her miserable situation, her mother singled Cathy out for disdain.
Meanwhile, her siblings became accustomed to their mother treating Cathy this way, and they accepted her sign as well. Terrified they should somehow end up with Cathy’s sign, they subtly reinforced her sign with their own behavior toward her. Cathy could never seem to do anything right or compensate for all the faults her mother found in her. It wasn’t, however, for lack of trying.
You see, Cathy accepted the sign and used it as motivation to try to please others, even as an adult.
Sin was an easy concept for Cathy. She was well prepared to understand herself as unworthy before God. The more she came to know Jesus, however, the greater the trouble she had with her sign. It chafed and felt uncomfortable. “But I am unworthy of you, Lord,” she would protest.
“Cathy,” God kept telling her, “you think the sign says ‘unworthy,’ but it really reads ‘worthless,’ and you are far from worthless.” Finally, Cathy understood the incredible value God placed upon her life and her soul.
Though it still feels odd, Cathy now displays her true sign: “Valued by God.”
SOURCE: Chapter 1: “Truth,” God Can Help You Heal by Gregory L. Jantz, PhD., founder of The Center for Counseling and Health Resources Inc.
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