By: Brittany Fiscus-van Rossum
Reflection—v. 7 ‘loss because of Christ’
‘If anyone has reason to be confident in the flesh, I have more,’ Paul says before he begins his litany of resume-worthy identifiers that could too easily constitute Paul’s sense of self. He’s a part of an upstanding religious group. He’s hard-working. He has no felonies. He’s got good family and the right credentials. He’s all set up for success, and yet, because of Christ, he has come to regard such identifiers, the things in life that should put him ahead, as loss. Lately at Mercy, we have been talking a lot about identity and how we try to ‘prop up’ or even hide who we truly are by looking for our sense of self-value in the wrong places. We find our ‘confidence in the flesh’ because we have a fancy education, or housing, more expensive clothes than our neighbor, or a nicer car. We can even fortify our sense of worth with objectively good qualities like the fact that we are kind or that we attend a social justice-oriented church. While such virtues or passions are not a bad thing, they do not make us who we are. We are at our very core beloved children of God, created in God’s image with inherent dignity regardless of all other accidents or attributes. If you find your sense of worth in what you have obtained or accomplished, instead, I implore you to regard such distracting idols as a loss—for they are not what makes you who you are. When you look in the mirror or gaze upon any other beloved child of God, see yourself—see them—for who we truly are: beloved, created, chosen, and valuable.
Prayer: God who loves us, help us to know ourselves and know one another for who we truly are: beloved.