Many of us have experiences that shape our belief in how we see ourselves and how Jesus sees us. When we are young, our parents had much input into how we viewed ourselves. If we had a stable childhood with parents who modeled Christian love and helped us realize we were a valued and precious child, then most likely our self-esteem is positive. This is not to say that parents have to be perfect and never make mistakes. We all make mistakes, but if a child feels loved, a child realizes he or she is loveable. If there was childhood abuse, it’s very difficult for that child to have a positive self-image.
This plays an important role in how we see Jesus. When we’re young and at Sunday School, we speak as if God is our father and Jesus is the son of God. How do you think a child will imagine God and Jesus if their image of father is abusive? They probably won’t want anything to do with God and Jesus. If God is their father, then God must be like their earthly father. After all, that is the only father they know. They may see a mean God who counts everything they do in a little book. God can appear scary, and they might even avoid God and church at all costs. It compounds the problem if the parents try and force their children to go to church when they are so fearful.
God sent His son to show us the way. Jesus was constantly helping others and He kept saying, “Be not afraid.” He welcomed the children and was always with people who the society viewed as outcasts. He wept when His friend was dying and wept over Jerusalem. Jesus sees us as His beloved children. He is the lover calling His beloved.
I had an experience in prayer where I was upset, and I sensed Jesus yelling at me, “But I love you!” That’s the only time He’s yelled at me. We have celebrated and cried together. While growing in prayer, I first had to experience the love Jesus had for me, and it had to be firm. I had to know without question that He loved me. Then I could realize the love He had for me He has for everyone.
Jesus sees our heart. He knows our weaknesses and when we mess up, but He also knows the goodness and light within us. He knows how our soul yearns to be united to Him. That’s why we can always come to Him for forgiveness. He is waiting for us to come to Him and share in His marvelous light. He weeps for us when we are in pain. He experiences joy when we feel His presence and when we care for others. He knows when we want to follow Him and are not sure how. He is the loving shepherd waiting for His sheep.
With this love, which He freely gives, we quickly realize it is too strong and wonderful to “hide it under a bushel.” This light is so powerful, that it has to be shared. It isn’t shared because we feel it’s something we should do or are told we must do. It’s shared because we have this strong desire to share it. Does this mean that every day we are eager to care for others? To be realistic, there may be many times when we feel tired or any number of feelings that might make it difficult. But once we’ve experienced this deep and passionate love of Jesus, we have the strength and perseverance to keep going and carry our cross. There is no turning back once we know how much we are loved and how we need to give that light to others.
How do you think Jesus sees you? What has been your experience? Do you believe you are His beloved child? If so, what does that mean?