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“Self-image constitutes one of the most important relationships in life.”

A thought by Andy Stanley, (2009-01-21) from his book, Louder Than Words: The Power of Uncompromised Living (Kindle Locations 511-512). The Doubleday Religious Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to to buy the book.)

I know from a Christ follower perspective anything with self in it is a problem.  But Andy says, “The way we view ourselves determines how we will interact with God, family, friends, loved ones, and even those we consider to be our enemies.”  So this is an important relationship in our life.

I was just walking back from my time of read and I walked past a group of middle schoolers who were in summer school.  And as I was walking by a young guy was practicing hitting a ball into a floor hockey goal and he missed it by a mile.  Now I didn’t look up so he would notice he had missed it because I know how embarrassed he would have been.  I’m sure he was telling himself that he couldn’t do it maybe because he was a loser and I felt his pain.

And that is why our guilt of messing up by not living up to the standard of others and especially the standard of God hurts our relationships starting with our self-relationship.  That middle schooler was having trouble with feeling good about himself let alone with someone else.

I like how Andy puts it, “Guilt is simply a by-product of their failure to meet their own standards. As if they were two people in a single body, one half somehow feels like it has let the other half down. It feels unworthy and unreliable. The result is lowered self-esteem.”

And that guilt hurts our relationship with ourselves because it make us feel like a failure.  And how we feel affects our relationships.  Andy says, “People who are unhappy with themselves always find something to be unhappy about in those around them. Generally speaking, those who are closest to us— our husband, wife, or children— are primary targets. Ironically, it is when we are least happy about the state of our own character that we are quickest to find fault with others. It is human nature to mirror our displeasure with ourselves in our attitudes toward those around us. In contrast, when our character is hitting on all cylinders, we enjoy a clear conscience. No matter what hardships we may face, we can rest in the knowledge that we have honored God’s absolute standard of right and wrong, regardless of what it has cost us. We’ve done our part.”

Because if I mess up I have confidence in the fact that I am striving to live a life of character and I know that God understands and believes in me so then I can ask His forgiveness and His strength to take care of my character weakness.  And on this July 4th there is real freedom in that.  And that freedom from guilt of messing up takes care of the inside which in turn clears the path in my other relationships.

So how are your relationship going?


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