You know what gives me a good laugh? I laugh when people see the color of my skin and my Asian features and then try to compliment me by saying, “Wow, I’m surprised at how you’re able to speak English so well!” I rarely think fast enough to respond to that sort of thing right away, but when I go home I close my door and tell that nagging echo gnawing away at my self-worth to stop patronizing me.
I laugh because there have been times when I’ve believed the audacious lie that I was someone special, a minority who is a cut above the rest, like one of those smart minorities, not even a minority really. More like us than them. What’s that supposed to mean anyway?
I remember what it was like in my high school creative writing class, where we all had to write a variety of stories and prose and poetry. I felt like a celebrity there. I could be as counter-cultural and raw and honest as my imagination would let me. I could speak freely about my beliefs. My classmates didn’t always agree with me, but they respected me. Still, I never thought to open my eyes to the idea that maybe all the applause was because of something so minor.
Maybe all I needed was someone brave enough to tell me, “You’re not all that good.”
You know who will never patronize me? God. For God knows me most deeply and, irrespective of my outward features, judges the thoughts and intentions of my heart.
He receives me in a way that no one else can. When others love me on the basis of something outside of me that only appears to define me, God loves me on the basis of something outside of me that truly does define me. What matters most about me has nothing to do with me. Only God can truly affirm me, because all others will continue to fail to see me as I truly am.
The gospel says that I am far more sinfully flawed than I could ever dare to believe (or anyone ever had the courage to see in me!) and yet I am deeply far more accepted and loved by God in Christ than I could ever dare to hope!