Your Inherent goodness

The further we journey into Lent, the more this particular thought has come to me, that we are inherently good. You may think this is nothing earth-shattering or perhaps to you it is obvious but then how come we don't relate to each other or even ourselves by our inherent goodness?

It seems that so often we relate to each other either by 1)reaction 2)judgement or 3)according to the faults of one another. Not all the time, mind you, but often. How often have you put someone in a box and said, "oh, that person, she's just......". Or when someone is unkind to you or is upset with you, do you find yourself just reacting and taking a self-defensive stance?

I mention this because it is common. It common because we suffer from original sin and are all wounded. I see this within myself. But when I look at Christ, I see that He doesn't behave in this way.

One of the reasons why we judge other people is because we can't see into their hearts. All we do is look at someone's behavior and make judgements based upon that when in reality we don't know why people do what they do (man, I don't even know why I do what I do some of the time). People (including ourselves) make all sorts of decisions out of habit, past experiences and what we believe is the right thing to do (when it very well may not be). But God peers into the heart, and He alone can judge, but He has mercy. He sees His children so little and lost at times and has mercy.

Fr. Emmerich Vogt, an awesome Domincan priest, says that "we love others with the same love that we see ourselves loved with." So, I am going to find it difficult to love others when they are displaying less than desirable behavior if I can't see that God loves me when I am displaying less than desirable behavior. And SINCE God still loves me when I am being a total jerk, then I should work to love others when they are behaving in the same manner.

The key to this is seeing ourselves as God sees us. God sees us in goodness. He sees us in goodness because He sees in truth. And that is the truth. We were created in the image and likeness of God, in goodness. God doesn't see us in terms of what we have done for him, how "good" we are or how much talent we have. He sees us as the beautiful, unique and unrepeatble human beings that we are. He knows us. He loves us.

So often we look at ourselves and see all of the mistakes we have made. We see our areas of woundedness, we see the wounds that others have inflicted upon us and the goodness of God becomes marred in our own view. We say, "I have done this, how could God love me?" or "someone did this to me, how could God love me?" And so we relate to ourselves and others in wounds and faults, instead of goodness.

During Lent, ask God to show you the goodness within yourself. Ask Him to show you the goodness within others. God wants us to live in truth. Yes, we sin and have fallen short of the glory of God, but we are His children and from that love comes our dignity and joy and the ability to rise above anything. And that's how our Father wants us to live.

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