I recently listened to a podcast where psychologist and forgiveness expert Everett Worthington discussed a profoundly personal incident surrounding the murder of his mother. He notes that the murderer went through the home and broke every mirror in the house because he could no longer look and not see himself as a murderer.
While we may not be murderers, this story resonated with me nonetheless and reminded me of how many of us allow the messages of guilt and shame to cloud the mirrors we peer into every day. Our reflections scream “addict,” “failure,” “fat,” “stupid,” amongst countless other things. Rarely do we see what our Heavenly Father sees, “adopted child of the King,” “new creation,” “more than conquerors,” or “God’s workmanship,” just to name a few.
Henri Nouwen says, “Jesus came to announce to us that an identity based on success, popularity and power is a false identity—an illusion! Loudly and clearly he says: ‘You are not what the world makes you; but you are children of God.’”
When comparing religion to the gospel, Tim Keller says, “Religion: ‘My identity is built on being a good person.’ Gospel: ‘My identity is not built on my record or my performance but on Christ’s.’”
As mentors, even if you’ve mostly resolved the battle for identity in your own life, it is almost certainly raging in the lives of your mentees. During your Story Retreat, you will begin to see glimpses of the narratives your mentees primarily identify with, and more often than not, they are not based firmly on how God sees them. Your job is to help them establish a firm foundational identity based on Jesus and who He says they are throughout your mentoring season.
Encourage your mentees to spend time in God’s Word, understanding how God sees them. Challenge them to choose two to three Scriptures that speak to their identities, write them down, and tape them to their bathroom mirror.
Who am I? We all seek the answer to this question, to find security and worth. In this podcast, John Mark Comer explores who the Bible says we are. Jesus found His identity from Heaven, but we often find ours from earthly things: what we do, what we have, what we want, what others think about us.
“We cannot live beyond the identity we have embraced.” In this blog, RM President Kevin Harris challenges us to daily ask the question, which identity will we embrace? The one we tell ourselves? The one the world tells us? Or the one our Creator tells us is our true identity.
In this sermon from Southeast Christian Church, pastor Kyle Idleman reminds us that there sometimes seems to be a gap between knowing what is true about us as believers and living out of that reality. He uses words from Paul to help us see that Jesus is the starting point and that in Christ we can find who we truly are and what we are living for.
In this excerpt from his book Here and Now, Henri Nouwen explains that the spiritual life requires a constant claiming of our true identity as the beloved sons and daughters of our Heavenly Father. Jesus shows us how to enter this communion and how to proclaim to others.
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