Since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you, I will give men in exchange for you, people in exchange for your life.
Growing up, I was frequently and consistently affirmed by my parents. They fostered an atmosphere where ugly words and behavior, either toward others or myself, were never tolerated. Even the sticking out of the tongue at a sibling could eliminate any hope of after school re-runs of The Brady Bunch and Leave it to Beaver. And the privilege of an after dinner dessert would be a no-go.
As a result of having those relational boundaries firmly set, I became properly cornered into believing that I was a person of great worth, one to be cherished and loved, to be fought for and pursued…as are all others.
But that’s my story. Not so with others. Like, hundreds of thousands of others 🙁
And it doesn’t take a PhD in counseling to detect who has counted them self among the ‘I’m too lowly’ crowd. They’ve made a ritual out of self-deprecating talk.
I’ve said, “Oh, I love your haircut.”
The lowly countered with, “It looks awful.”
I’ve said, “That was terrific! Great job!”
The lowly doused my affirmation with, “Naw, it sucked.”
I’ve said, “You are fearfully and wonderfully made.”
The lowly moaned, “No, I’m fat and ugly.”
I’ve said, “So you made a mistake. Forgive yourself and move on.”
The lowly lamented with a head shake, “Can’t. I screwed up. Again. It’s too late.”
How mentally exhausting!
Self-loathing is one bad mamma jamma. When the mouth speaks from the overflow of a lowly-minded person’s heart, why, it’s akin to spewing verbal spit all over the listener.
Say a lowly minded one comes to accept them self as a dearly loved, chosen child of God (Ephesians 5:1), a delight to the heavenly Father (Zephaniah 3:17), the apple of His eye. (Deuteronomy 32:10). Well, I’d say a hearty, knee-slapping hallelujah to that!
But could their transformed heart, now gushing with glorious truth, eventually overflood its banks, spilling tainted streams of pride? Yes. Could the formerly lowly, now turned lofty, cause others to squint against the mighty glare of the gilded Mona Lisa frame they’ve displayed around their face?
God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.
I Peter 5:6b
Oh, if only the lofty knew the truth.
So which is it, lowly or lofty? Neither.
I am a lowly mess because He said so.
All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23) and…He knows us inside and out, keeps in mind that we’re made of mud (Psalm 103:14, The Msg).
And I am a lofty masterpiece because He said so.
Your works are wonderful. I know that full well. Psalm 139:14b
The challenge, then, is to remain ever close to the Father Who either lifts me from lowliness or humbles me from loftiness. To that, I say, move over, Mona Lisa. God says you ain’t the only priceless gem worthy of the Louvre.