Across the Pastor’s Desk: God has made you just as you are
Across the Pastor’s Desk by Josh Enderson
You are the mistakes that you make. You are your failures. You do not look like everyone else. This is our life, regardless of whether we are 13, 30 or 80 years old.
The world is always telling us that we are not good enough, and that we should feel bad about that.
Maybe you do not look or act like everyone else around you. We are told that we need to change or convert who we are in order to be like everyone else. Then we will be alright.
Because, it is our weaknesses and our failures that define us, or so we are told. If we are not like everyone else, we should be ashamed of the way God made us, or so we are told. And worst of all, the world has told me that I don’t fit in, that something that makes me “me” is not right, and only when I change it will God love me and walk with me. We all fall into this way of thinking.
In John’s gospel, the disciples were in a similar place after Jesus’ resurrection.
The pressures of the world came to Peter and said, “Well, Peter, despite everything, you denied that you knew Jesus when he was on trial. You failed him. Because you are a failure…”
The world came up to each of those disciples gathered there and said, “You ran away when you should have defended Jesus. Because you’re weak and not worthy of his great name…”
After a while of this negative thinking, Peter and the disciples gave in and decided to go back to their day jobs as a fishermen. As they sit there, moping in the boat, they see a figure on the shore. It was Jesus, their Lord and Savior! The disciples get back to shore as quickly as they can, and when they get there, Jesus invites them to sit down and have breakfast with him.
As they sit down, they waited for Jesus to echo what the world had been telling them over the last few days. They waited for him to recall their failures and to tell them that because of this, they were no longer worthy to be called his disciples.
Instead, Jesus just sat down and ate with them. At that moment, they realize that their Lord saw them differently than the world did. Jesus’ love for them reminded them that they are more than their failures.
God has made each and every one of you just as you are, with your own unique gifts, unique perspectives and unique lives. God did not create you one way only to force you to conform to another way of life. You are just as God made you and God rejoices in you just as you are! Do not let others tell you how you must be in order to be loved by God or to fit in. Be yourself and know that God has a part for you in God’s work just as you are. Despite what the world says, you are all beloved children of God.
Josh Enderson is an ELCA pastor at Hayward and Trondhjem Lutheran churches.
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