I have a friend, who we can call, I dunno, Brad k? Now, I love Brad and me and Brad have a ton of things in common and we have a lotof similar interests.
The only thing about Brad that I can’t stand, is that Brad isa compulsive liar.
Now maybe we all know someone like this, but Brad will constantly inventthese elaborate stories about things that he claims happened to him, that are so obviouslyfalse that it’s impossible for me to listen to them with a straight face.
This is obviousto everyone except for Brad.
Although sometimes the stories are so fakeand elaborate that it’s hard not to find them entertaining, it also genuinely makesme sad for him.
And it also genuinely makes me sad for him.
And it makes me sad for himbecause I can tell the reason he’s making up these stories is because he thinks thatif he does, people will just accept him and love him.
So, for whatever reason, deep downhe doesn't truly believe that it’s possible that people will love and accept him for himfor who he truly is, but will only find him worthy of love and acceptance if he’s perceivedas special and successful.
Now at the same time, I’ve got a big mouth, and I really appreciate when people being straight up and honest, as long as they aren’tusing that honesty as an excuse to hurt others or elevate themselves by putting other peopledown.
But if they speak out of genuine concern for the wellbeing of others, I can appreciatethat, and my friends know that about me.
So, I couldn't help myself when I’ve tried tellinghim several times that when he tells me these stories, I just don’t believe him, and thathe doesn't need to lie to me.
But still, he just sticks to his guns and tells me thathe isn’t lying, which is another obvious lie.
Now the worst part about it is that outside of that, Brad is a really good friend.
He’sloyal, reliable, helpful, and easy going.
But unfortunately, he thinks that lying willmake me like him more, but in reality, it makes me like him less because I can’t connectwith people that seem inauthentic.
Authenticity is the main thing that I need in my relationships.
The irony is that the thing that he believes is the cure to getting what he wants, is actuallythe disease that prevents him from actually getting what he wants.
That’s the interesting thing about humans, is that we all do this in different ways.
So, it’s kinda like when people are so focused on making a good impression that most of thetime, they end up making a bad one.
I’ve even noticed this in myself as well.
In thepast, when I felt the most insecure and desperate for love, those were the times when I gotso defensive that I acted in ways which actually made it way harder for people to actuallylove and accept me.
I was actually pushing away their love and acceptance, when deepdown, love and acceptance was the thing that I really wanted.
So, what is it that we all want, deep, deep down? I think if we spend enough time thinkingabout it, most of us will realize that what we want is genuine and unconditional love, and unconditional acceptance.
We want to be valued and loved for who we are.
But in orderfor it to be real, it has to be unconditional love and acceptance of who you TRULY are deepdown.
Your truest and most authentic self.
So now, the problem is, in order for othersto accept your truest and most authentic self, they have to see it.
But in order for themto see it requires you to be vulnerable in the most significant way.
All of your badparts and insecurities continuously exposed, which makes us exceptionally vulnerable tobeing hurt and rejected.
And giving people access to that kind of vulnerability, wherethey can reject the truest you is what makes showing people our truer self so scary.
Noone wants to be rejected for who they truly are deep down.
Think about all the things that you tell yourself, “if they REALLY knew this about me, theywouldn’t want anything to do with me”.
Those are the things that when we think aboutthem, they remind us that we truly aren’t unconditionally loved and accepted by others.
So how do we cope with this? Well, to protect ourselves from the potentialhurt, like Brad, we all create these different ways of trying to protect ourselves and maintaina feeling of being capable of love and acceptance.
We unconsciously create so many defense mechanismsto protect our truest selves from getting hurt, but the bad news is, it works.
Whenit works, it ends up reinforcing our often unconscious belief that we can’t allow ourselvesto become too vulnerable.
And this stops us from being able to be our authentic andtruest selves at all times or even to accept our trues and authentic selves.
But the worst part about all of it, we’re probably right about some of that.
As longas people are selfish, we can never count on people not to hurt us.
But selfishnessis part of our spiritual DNA.
So, with that being said, I’ve actuallyfound that Christianity really does have something significant to say about all of this.
AndI didn’t understand this until I went through it myself.
So A couple of years ago, I startedreading the Bible again and started thinking harder about the foundational truths of Christianity, and that really changed everything, but probably not in the way you’re probably thinking.
It all started when I started trying to figure out what the Bible had to say about love, marriage and the gospel.
Now I will have to elaborate and tell the full story later, butin short, I realized that loving someone is serving them, and to love someone not onlydo you have to be vulnerable, but it’s going to cost you something.
So true love comeswith a self-sacrificial price that you pay for the other person.
So now in the Christian worldview, I thought about what it meant when the Bible says thatGod is not just the source of love, but God IS love.
He loves everyone unconditionally.
One way He showed His love was by giving.
First, He gave us life.
He created us knowingthat it would hurt Him beyond our comprehension if just one of us rejected Him.
But still, He gave us life, and unconditionally loves every single person that He created.
Now, I don’t care what you’ve done- you aren’t an exception.
God always knew your truestand most authentic self.
He knew your absolute worst parts that others might not accept, and even parts that you can’t even accept about yourself.
None of that changes God’slove for you because there’s nothing that you can do to make God love you anymore orany less than He does right now.
I also came to think deeper about what itcost God to offer us a relationship with him.
I thought about how in Christianity, God didn’tjust sit in heaven and simply tell us He loved us.
No, He loved us so much that He put onhuman flesh and came into the world, made Himself lower than the angels, vulnerableand weak enough to allow us to betray Him, capture Him, beat Him, and eventually, tortureHim to death.
He did this so that way He could pay the price for our wrongdoings.
And insteadof making us pay for it, he offers His payment to us as a free gift.
It cost Him everythingto have a relationship with you.
The relationship with Him isn’t forced on you, but it’soffered to you as a free gift.
Again, A FREE gift.
That’s the game changer right there.
Think about it: If someone offers you a free gift, that meansyou don’t have to pay for it; the person who is giving you the gift is the one thatpays for it.
Nor do you work for it.
If you had to pay for it or work for it, then itobviously wouldn’t be a gift, it would be something you earned.
When someone offersyou a gift, it’s already paid for; all you have to do is accept it.
Since Christ is the one who paid for it, it’s not based on anything that YOU did, but basedon entirely what CHRIST did.
Once we realize that, we realize that we’re His gift ofacceptance didn’t depend on your performance or how good you were.
This allows for us toslowly gain the courage to become more and more of our authentic selves.
So, we no longer have to unconsciously hide parts of our truest selves FROM ourselves, because we know that acknowledging them doesn't change God’s love or acceptance of us.
So, we can look at them without any fear or defenses, because we know that our status with God isn’tthreatened by those things.
Only then do we have the freedom to start looking at the mostawful parts of ourselves that we couldn't accept or acknowledge before.
And we can doso without feeling threatened, defensive, or making exceptions or excuses to ourselves.
It was at this time that I realized that if we think we have to be exceptionally goodor likable in order for God to accept us, we’re naturally gonna have to deny a significantpart of our truest authentic selves, namely the bad parts, in order to believe that we’reworthy of unconditional love and acceptance.
So ultimately, that doesn’t solve the problemthat we started with.
But when we realize that we’re saved onlybecause we accepted a gift, we realize that we’re not accepted BECAUSE of our moralperformance, but in spite it.
This allows for us to slowly gain the courage to becomemore and more of our authentic selves.
If we know that we’re perfectly safe becausewe’re unconditionally loved and accepted by the greatest being in the entire universe, we no longer need to keep our defense mechanisms in order to protect ourselves.
We have nothing to lose and nothing to fear.
The final part of this is that we can startto realize that the bad things we do, we do because in some way, we think they’ll bringus what we ultimately want.
But when we think about it, we can remind ourselves that wealready HAVE everything that we ultimately want.
Those things don’t lead us to theunconditional love and acceptance that we desire, so we can start to let ‘em go.
We desire those things when we FORGET the fact that we’re ALREADY unconditionallyloved and accepted- which is easy to do.
That’s why those of us that are Christians shouldcontinue to remind ourselves daily that we don’t need to hold onto them any longer, because whatever we thought we were getting from them, we already have in God’s unconditionallove and acceptance.
So, those are just some of my thoughts frommy personal experience.
Let me know what you guys think.
I hope you guys got somethingout of it.
And if you found it helpful, then make sure you share this video so others canalso.
And the next time that you catch yourself forgetting that you are unconditionally lovedand accepted by Christ, what are you gonna.