I picture myself as two cardboard cut-outs: one white, one black. But I haven’t always seen myself this way. I used to only see one cut-out, and it was all black.
The summer after I finished high school, I spent two months begging Jesus to forgive me for past sin I could not get over. Finally, the Lord reminded me, “I have forgiven you. You need to forgive yourself.” This was my first breakthrough. Then, a few years later, God brought my shame and self-condemnation spilling to the surface, forcing me to deal with it.
At the time, a wise friend told me to imagine my sinful nature as a dark shadow standing beside me. This may not seem profound to you, but to me it was. For the first time, I could mentally separate all my sin from my identity and stand there, staring it down.
What is our true identity and what stops us from accepting it? This issue, our writers delve into questions that are deeply embedded in every human’s mind. I pray God will use their personal reflections to point you to deeper truths about your worth and purpose.
The transformation isn’t instantaneous or perfect. My black cardboard cut-out is still a part of my story. It still gets the best of me at times. But, because of Christ’s forgiveness, it represents my old self, not my current, forgiven, freed self. I think recognizing this was the first time I truly grasped what salvation means.
May these pages offer you a richer understanding of this good, precious gift.