How we see ourselves will often vary from day to day; how others see us is even less reliable! We often wear many different hats, so to speak, and therefore can be seen in different lights according to our roles (child, partner, parent, work colleague, friend and so on.) It takes a lifetime of trusting God to see ourselves as He sees us, to accept His evaluation of our identity.

In Luke 18:9-14, Jesus tells a story about two men: a Pharisee who thought a lot about himself (and sadly looked down on others who did not match his standards) and a tax collector who thought very little about himself. In relation to God, however, we are jolted with surprise to find it is the tax collector, with his simple, heartfelt prayer (‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’) who is justified rather than the other. Jesus concludes this story by saying, ‘for all who exalt themselves will be humbled, but all who humble themselves will be exalted.’ (Luke 18:14)

Ultimately, we need to put our trust in God’s love for us, rather than in our own righteousness, competence or skills. If we don’t, we might find ourselves shocked that God’s judgment is not the same as our own.