March 2015

John 17:14-18 “I have told them your message. But the people of this world hate them, because they don't belong to this world, just as I don't.

    Father, I don't ask you to take my followers out of the world, but keep them safe from the evil one. They don't belong to this world, and neither do I. Your word is the truth. So let this truth make them completely yours. I am sending them into the world, just as you sent me.” (Contemporary English Version)

 

Words have tremendous power. Parents know this. Their words have the capacity to shape the habits, behaviors, and the personalities of their children. They can create respect and consideration for others. They can build obedience and discipline. They can encourage children to discover their talents and gifts. They can shape a young person's self-knowledge and esteem.

Parents' words ring with the authority of truth. That is why they can both build up ("You are wonderful; you are loved") and they can tear apart ("You are no good; you'll never amount to anything"). But such negative words are not true. They are a lie. They do not reveal the truth about the young person nor do they speak the truth about what they might become. They reveal nothing more than the limited view of the one telling the lie. Children, and perhaps all people, need to be protected from lies that put limits on their lives.

The above passage from the gospel of John speaks of the need for God to protect us from evil; it also speaks of truth. These things go together.

Fortunately, there is something greater than the lies the world tells us. There is something greater, even, than the truth that we are sinful and unclean. It is this basic fact: that God loves us and that God has given the Son to die for us that we might believe in God and have eternal life. With this truth comes a full range of related propositions. We belong to the people of God. Our calling in the world is to love and care for creation, to be charitable to all people, and to spread God's word. Our greatest fulfillment comes not through what we achieve or acquire, but through what God enables us to do. Our greatest joys in life will come from good and godly pursuits. Our greatest freedom comes not from doing as we please, but serving as God pleases. And, in the face of that powerful lie that we may have heard as a child, or along the way from a teacher or professor or boss or co-worker the one that says you are no good, you'll never amount to anything, you are worthless… great truth of God will protect you. You are a child of God, a person of priceless worth. God gave the Son to die for you. Do not measure yourself by the deceptive standards of the world. Measure your worth by the standard of the one who made you. God says to each of us: "I want you to live with me forever." If you want to know what your human value is, measure your worth against that.

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