I have a secret: I’ve spent my entire life trying to make people like me.
I want others to think I’m brilliant, kind, funny, and wise. I spend hours overthinking a joke I told. I try to agree with the people I talk with. And honestly, sometimes I even attempt to say things that will make my friends have conversations with other people about how great I am.
Why? Because I’m constantly fighting a voice inside of me that says, “You’re not enough.” I use approval from others as a way to argue with that voice. But anytime I don’t measure up, the voice comes back even stronger. “See? Told you.” That’s why I find the way Jesus loved the “unlovable” profound.
Zacchaeus was a tax collector—someone everyone hated because he stole money from people. People hated him so much that when Jesus came to town no one would even let Zacchaeus get by them so he could see Jesus. Since Zacchaeus was short, he had to climb a tree to see Jesus.
This was the guy Jesus chose to spend time with. He loved Zacchaeus even when no one else did. He chose to stay at Zacchaeus’s house over all the “better” people’s houses.
And what happened? Zacchaeus said, “Here and now, I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.”
The free love of Jesus touched Zacchaeus’ heart powerfully and instantly. Jesus’s actions were so powerful for him—and for us—because we’re not used to free love. Jesus offered Zacchaeus acceptance, and without him having to perform to get it. He was wanted, regardless of how short he was, how hated he was, or how dishonest he was.
I have a hard time grasping the concept of free love too. But the way Jesus loves me unconditionally is releasing me of my need to perform—no matter how often I don’t measure up. And that makes me want to be a better person. Not out of fear, but out of the realization that I am enough. Simply because I am His.
Move through this week knowing you are enough.
(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)
(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)
Tim Branch is a blogger, former ministry leader, and author of How to Hear God’s Voice—a small guide designed to help Christians grow in intimacy with the Lord. He writes at www.timbranch.com about growing into the person you were originally intended to be.