I don’t have a monopoly on words.
I realize that I’m not the only writer in the world.
There was a time when that immobilized me. I quit writing because I felt like my words couldn’t hold their own in a world where people can so freely express themselves.
But that wasn’t the right reason. I write not because I want you to think I’m the best writer in the world. (OK, maybe a little bit.) But the main reason I write is because it’s part of who I am. It’s how I’m wired.
I am a writer.
And as a writer, I not only like to write words, I also like to read them. Sure most of the time, I prefer to read those words uttered from a superhero in a comic book, but I also enjoy the words of a handful of authors and blog writers.
One of those is author and blogger Jon Cuff. Cuff writes humorously in a way that I hope to emulate, but I’m not even close to there—yet. But despite that enviable skill, my favorite posts are when Jon takes his sharp wit and points it inward.
A couple of years ago, his blog post had a simple title, “Thinking you’re naked.” It refers to a question God asked Adam and Eve in the garden after they ate from a forbidden tree. In Genesis 3:11, God asked, “Who told you that you were naked?” (NLT).
I’ve always heard those words with a condescending tone. Sort of like when I tell my kids, “Who thought it was a good idea to leave a half-eaten Pop-Tart on the couch?”
But after reading Jon’s blog post, I heard it differently. There was more compassion, even empathy in the question.
Almost as if someone called one of my kids a cruel name.
“Who told you that you were stupid?”
“Who told you that you couldn’t play?”
“Who told you that you weren’t good enough?”
I can’t hear that question the same anymore.
It makes my heart ache.
Because when I hear it, I hear a God who already knew how evil and distorted things could potentially be, and never wanted His creation to experience it.
I hear that question from my vantage point as a dad, and it breaks my heart. I don’t want my kids’ view of themselves to become so distorted. I don’t want them to struggle with seeing themselves the way God sees them.
I don’t want them to ever think they are less than who God made them to be.
And I think God feels the same about me.
He asks the same question of me, because He knows I’m affected by a world distorted by sin. He asks the question because He knows I’m a man distorted by my own sin.
He says to you and to me:
“Who told you that you were less of a guy because you can’t throw a baseball?”
“Who told you that you weren’t a writer?”
“Who told you that you were ugly just because you’re not like a magazine cover?”
“Who told you that you had to have washboard abs?”
“Who told you that you had to be a size 2 to be a woman?”
“Who told you that your best days are behind you and you have nothing else to contribute?”
“Who told you that you aren’t a good husband?”
“Who told you that you weren’t a good dad?”
“Who told you that you’re not a good provider?”
The list could go on and on.
But it comes from a God who isn’t angry at me. He’s angry that I am so deceived, that I don’t see the truth anymore.
So how would you fill in this blank: “Who told you you were ____________?”
And what would God say about it?
— by Tim Walker
Walker is a husband/father/writer who is navigating faith, marriage, parenthood and mid-life. Follow his blog at www.timswords.com.