Updated: Aug 12, 2019
When I was a kid, I would get to spend weekends with grandparents while my parents went away. I had two grandmothers, and I experienced love from them in different ways. Both of them influenced who I am today.
One grandmother pretty much spoiled me and let me do whatever I wanted. The other grandmother didn't let me watch lots of television and fed me healthy snacks. She structured our time with things to learn and things to create. Overall she spent more time with me rather than catering to me. I would say I experienced more love from her even though both loved me in different ways.
We may make the mistake of assuming catering to people is loving them when relational investment is the higher form of love.
We know that identity formation is not merely a result of DNA. Outside influences can't replace the color of our eyes or skin. It is genetically determined. But, genetics does not predetermine whether or not someone commits a crime. Social influences factor in more than genetics when it comes to the decisions I make as a person. External factors influence those decisions and those decisions shape identity.
"Understanding who we are is a lifetime endeavor and influenced by the social environments in which we live."
Where a person is born has a tremendous influence on these social factors. They may be born with the DNA to become a fully formed human being, but if they lack access to proper nutrition, nurturing parents, and decent medical care we see that they do not thrive physically and emotionally. Access to education and opportunities are other external factors that are important in the formation of identity.
Understanding who we are is a lifetime endeavor and influenced by the social environments in which we live. Perceptions, attitudes, values, and beliefs of those environments do shape us.
One of the most important external factors for each of us throughout life is being loved. Love is a driver of perceptions, attitudes, values, and beliefs. Having access to love seems to be just as important as nutrition, education and good healthcare. We know that love can cover a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8).
"Having access to love seems to be just as important as nutrition, education and good healthcare."
When we are loved it impacts the perception we have of ourselves and others. When others love us, our attitude is affected. When love is our primary value, it changes how we relate to others. When love influences our beliefs, we see the worth of all people. We also learn from the Bible that "God is Love" (1 John 4:8). The one thing we need most in life is who God is!
Who Am I?
My grandmother who loved me relationally rather than catering to my whims and desires is the one who had the more significant influence on the person I am today. How we love matters.
What if we allowed love to define who we are? God has deemed us worthy of being loved. God is the one who loves us by sending the Son, Jesus. God is the one who calls us to live a new life directed by love for others. God's love is an example of love that makes a relational investment and not just catering to our perceived needs.
Join us on Sunday at 9:30 am as we talk about, "Identity Crisis."
How do we make sense of who we are and who God created us to be? Seeking clarity in these areas has the potential to redirect our lives in helpful and hopeful ways. "Identity Crisis," a three week conversation about faith, hope, and love, may just redefine your life.
Sunday Worship: 9:30 am
Childrens Programming Available (Infant through Grade 5)