There is a scene in my novel A Light Shining where Michael Kent-Hughes, the junior priest at St. Anselm’s Church in San Francisco, meets with Jason, a 15-year-old street kid who’s been attending Michael’s church. He’s been a thief and a prostitute, doing whatever was needed to survive on the streets.
Michael and Jason are talking, and Jason wants to know why the church cares about him and the other street kinds, and why Michael cares.
“Because you matter,” Michael says. “You matter to God. And because you matter to God, you matter to us. Jason, God sees you as something valuable. You have great value in his eyes.”
“I’m a piece of crap, Father Michael,” Jason responds. “That’s all I am. I steal when I have to. I’ve done drugs, all of them. I hustle tricks to make money. There’s no value here. I’m a piece of crap.” He stares at Michael defiantly.
“That may be what you think,” Michael responds. “And that may be what a lot of people think. But it’s not what God thinks. And it’s not what Father John and I think. Jason, you and maybe others see what’s on the surface. And what’s on the surface may be ugly, to you and a lot of people.But what really matters is what’s inside and what’s in your heart. What God sees is the man He created you to be. He sees that potential, that possibility. He sees the sin, too, the sin in you and the sin in me and in every one of us. And that’s what Jesus died for – He died so that sin in all of us is forgiven and we can become the people God intended us to be.”
I’ve been reading The Cure: What if God Isn’t Who You Think He Is and Neither Are You, by John Lynch, Bruce McNichol and Bill Thrall, and the scene in A Light Shining popped into my head when I read this sentence:
“Your view of you is the greatest commentary on your view of God.”
The authors use a metaphor: we see ourselves as the caterpillar, the worm, while God sees the butterfly.
Even after we believe, it’s often difficult to let go of the past, what has shaped us, the sin in our lives. He’s hard to imagine being forgiven for the things we have done, or said, or been.
We carry a lot of old baggage. What we don’t realize is that God has thrown it out.
All of it.
“You are no longer who you were, even on your worst day,” the authors of The Cure write. “What we believed in that first moments of trusting Jesus affects everything.”
We’re not worms. We’re not caterpillars.
In God’s eyes, we’re butterflies.
Led by Jason Stasyszen and Sarah Salter, we’ve been reading The Cure. Thuis concludes our discussion of chapter three, “Two Gods.” To see more posts on this chapter, please visit Jason at Connecting to Impact.
Photograph by Svetlana Tikhonova via Public Domain Pictures. Used with permission.