Many of us believe that God sees us all as failures, wretches who are utterly depraved. We’ve written songs to reinforce our assumptions, penning lyrics about our own ugliness and separation. We think, When I hate myself, am I not simply agreeing with God?
Is this how God sees me? Is this how God sees you? Does God agree with how I see myself and what others have told me about who I am at the core of my being?
The truth is that we have inherent value because we are made in the image of God. Our value and worth are not dependent on us.
If I believe the deepest truth about me is worthlessness, then why are you surprised when I act like I’m worthless? Am I not at least being honest? Yes, I would be, if that were the truth about who I am; but it is not the truth.
Does anything that is ‘not good’ originate in God? No!
Are we still image bearers, made in the image of God? Yes, we are!
God, who is only good, creates only good—very good! This is why Jesus asked the rich young ruler, ‘Why are you calling me good? There is only One who is Good, and that is God’ (Matthew 19:17). This is not Jesus saying, ‘There is nothing good in me,’ but asking, ‘Do you see God in me, young brother? Is that why you are calling me good, or is this still about performance?’
Yes, we have crippled eyes, but not a core of ungoodness. We are true and right, but often ignorant and stupid, acting out the pain of our wrongheadedness, hurting ourselves, others, and even all creation. Blind, not depraved, is our condition. Remember, God cannot become anything that is evil or inherently bad… and God became human.
I am fundamentally good because I am created ‘in Christ’ as an expression of God, an image bearer, imago dei (see Ephesians 2:10). This identity and goodness is truer about us than any of the damage that was done to us or by us.
Abridged, from Lies we believe about God, Wm. Paul Young.