Getting along with the people in our world is directly related to two essential traits.
The first, knowing and liking who I am, is absolutely essential if I am to relate genuinely to the people I know and meet. If I don’t like myself, how can I expect others to?
Having at least some relationship skills, undoubtedly ranks second.
But neither of these is much use, if I leave out the most important requirement of all… the need to be at peace with God.
Some might think that a rather odd thing, especially if they have lots of friends and don’t believe in God.
Why do we need to be at peace with God?
The reason might surprise you.
Perhaps the better question would be, “Why wouldn’t we?”
In the beginning, when God created human beings to share the joys and riches of His kingdom, apart from the joy He would experience in having us around Him, He expected that we would also enjoy His company and remain loyal to the Kingdom.
But it wasn’t to be the case.
Our firsts parents soon came to realise the very thing we talked about in our first chat… to know and love what and who we really are, was empowering. Realising that they had been made like Him, and how marvellous they were, they considered that perhaps they had as much wisdom as God does.
The next assumption proved fatal.
It seemed reasonable to them that they were able to do life without Him.
Even a cursory glance at the world around us today, reveals the horrible result of that decision. Humanity has descended into chaos and depravity.
God tells us that our hearts have become wicked and that all our thoughts are selfish, prideful and our lives are in continuing mutiny against Him.
Worse than that. The consequence for bringing shame and rebellion into His kingdom is death… ours!
It broke God’s heart. He was sorry that He had made us. The pain of our walking-away from Him was more than we can understand.
But He had a plan to get us back.
It was decided that God would take the punishment for our mistake. He would send His own Son to our earth, to become one of us, live among us, and to allow Himself to die for our rebellion. What kind of a God does that?
What a huge cost it would be.
And what would be our part in all of this?
Jesus, His Son, told us many times in different ways when He said,
“Whoever believes in me, even though He dies now, will be saved in the end”.
On another occasion, He told the people listening to Him,
“No man comes to the Father but through me. I am the gate”
This simply means, if we want to be at peace with God the Father, we need to believe that Jesus his Son, came to earth, died in our place, and made it possible for us to be restored to our original place as inhabitants of the Kingdom.
All we have to do is believe Him. It couldn’t be simpler.
While the end result in the future will be new lives for us all, the benefits now are more than we would expect.
Firstly, as long as we put our trust in Him, He has promised to care for us, protect us, and guide our steps in the smallest details of our lives.
This is the reason He told us, “Don’t be afraid”. We are not to be afraid because He is looking after us.
There have been many experiences in my own life to verify that.
Secondly. The future that He has promised us, depends entirely on our continuing to believe in Him. Nothing else. Do you realise, dear reader, just what this means?
It means we don’t have to earn our way in order to receive all that He is promising us. It’s all a free gift. It further means He accepts us just as we are. He doesn’t ask us to change, straighten our life out, take a shower and smell good, put on clean clothes, agree to a list of creeds, go to mass or anything else.
Besides. Nothing we did would be enough to pay for the gift He is giving us. The reality of what this means is hard to absorb.
It’s like having a birthday and receiving a thousand semi-trailer loads of presents.
Wait. There is more.
This is the good bit that relates to knowing who we are…
If God accepts me just as I am, then so should I accept what and who I am, based on His opinion of me. His opinion of me is more important than that of any human being including myself.
But there’s even more…
Here is the connection to the impact on our relationships.
If I can accept myself and love who I am, simply because He loves me as I am, then I don’t have to walk around wearing a mask or a costume in order to get other people to like me.
If God loves me, then I don’t need other people’s approval to make me feel good. And nobody’s opinion of me is more important than God’s.
I can live in the understanding that I am who I am. People are free to like me or not like me. It really doesn’t matter because someone who is far more significant, God, loves me, just as I am.
The reality of this is that when I am with you, or anybody else, I am free to be just who I am. What a relief!
All of a sudden, wanting to be at peace with God
… is a no-brainer!