I'm Not Scurred
The Four Gs: God is Glorious
When I was in middle school I was not what you would call, “popular.” I was a home body, I played a non-school sport, and didn't have many friends. Shockingly, middle school was really hard for me. It's not a period of time that I look on with any kind of fondness.
More than anything I wanted to be accepted. I wanted to find approval in the eyes of those around me. I wasn't going to find acceptance from my peers, so I looked for it in my teachers. I excelled in the classroom. My teachers loved me. When I was in class there was a sense of relaxation and calm.
When I entered the lunchroom, it was the complete opposite. Fear, dread, a discomfort of infinite depths impacted my whole being. I knew I was going to be teased and mocked by my “friends.”
What was different about the classroom and the lunchroom? Acceptance. In the classroom I had found the acceptance of my teachers and in the lunchroom I had not found the acceptance of my peers. So in one there was confidence and in the other fear.
I think all of us at some point in our lives desire the acceptance of others. Quite often this desire becomes an idol for us. We do things that we know aren't right to gain that acceptance. Why? Because acceptance translates into value and worth.
The sad thing is that this does not end in middle school. When I attend meetings with pastoral colleagues I see the jockeying and self-glorying all around me.
“How many people are coming on Sundays, bro?” “When are you starting that new building, bro?” “Dude, I baptized this many people.”
Why do these things matter? They matter so deeply to people because they want to show themselves as worthy of being accepted. They are afraid if they can't show themselves to be worthy then they will be rejected.
When we feel like we need to root our worthiness in ourselves then we will live in a state of fear.
What if we could find our worth outside ourselves or apart from the acceptance of others?
Glory is defined as, “(1) Great honor, praise, or distinction accorded by common consent; renown. (2) Something conferring honor or renown. (3) A highly praiseworthy asset.”
When are living in fear of other people's willingness to accept or reject us, what we are tacitly saying is that we are our own glory. If someone rejects us then we will feel as though we really have no glory. Therefore, we live in fear of rejection.
The Scriptures tell us that God is absolutely glorious.
In Psalm 86, David writes a poem in response to some really hard things. He is being pursued by enemies and he has this sense of rejection from those around him. Yet, he has no fear. Why?
I will praise you, Lord my God, with all my heart; I will glorify your name forever. (Psalm 86:12)
He has discovered the joy and beauty of finding glory in God. He doesn't need the acceptance of those around him, because he knows that he has been accepted by God in all his beauty and glory. His sense of glory is rooted not in himself but the in the glory of the glorious one. If this glorious God as accepted him, then he does not need to fear the rejection anyone.
Have you ever been around someone who is completely confident and comfortable in their own skin? There is something wonderful about being around someone like this. They are often welcoming, kind, and put others at ease. Most of the people I know who are like this have discovered this truth, God is glorious therefore I don't need to fear others.
My kids loved middle school. I think it's because my wife and I have helped them to understand that they do not fear others because they have been fully accepted in the glorious God.
At the end of it all, when we are freed from the fear of others, we are freed to love well.