As a woman, the more I hear how men are inconsiderate buffoons, the more that influences my thinking towards them. In addition, when I see and hear constant examples of how women are emotionally manipulative, irrational, and critical, the more I believe that is normal, even to be expected of me. It lessens my standard for myself in how I relate to others.
However, God has called me to a higher standard than the world's normal. When I allow myself to indulge in stereotypical mindsets, I am selling myself and others short. I am also not choosing to see others or myself as God does.
God knows that we as humans are not perfect. However, when Jesus died on the cross, He died for the forgiveness of all sins of all time. That means that when I choose to accept the free gift of salvation and live for God instead of myself, I am forgiven, both now and for any future sins I commit. Now don't get me wrong, this forgiveness is not an excuse to do whatever I want, but rather, it removes the shame and guilt of sin from my life. It gives me hope that I am going to become more and more like Christ as I trust and obey Him.
When God looks at me, as His beloved child, He doesn't see all the ugliness in me. I find that I tend to be my worst critic and dwell on all that I've done wrong. When I ask for forgiveness, Jesus' blood covers over all my sins. Yes, He will sometimes highlight areas of my life where I am not trusting or obeying Him, but it's not to bring condemnation. Rather, He encourages me with the promise that He will walk with me in becoming more like Him in that area of weakness. What God now sees is the gold that He has placed within me. He calls out that gold and inspires me to become all that He has called me to be.
Now, when I look at myself, I ask God for His perspective. I find that His truth really does set me free (John 8:32)! I used to be afraid of what He would say about me, but I now know that when He speaks to me, He always brings hope. He helps me see the areas that He is working in. He tells me that He's proud of me and He shows me my worth in Him. This perspective is a far cry from what the world would say about me. Their unrealistic and damaging standard says that I must look or act a certain way to be accepted. I am not honouring God if I follow the world's standard instead of His for my life.
In addition, if I choose to accept the world's perspective of men and women, then I am not choosing to honour God's creation. Yes, others will disappoint and even hurt me. However, that still is not an excuse for dishonouring them through gossip, negative perspectives of them, or sarcastic put-downs. God wants me to go beyond the natural and ask Him for His viewpoint. Once I am seeing them through His eyes, I can focus on the gold that He has placed there (even if it seems to be buried verrryyyyy deep). I can choose to honour them even when they don't deserve it.
There is incredible blessing in living a life of honour. It isn't an easy road to take as it can go against natural instincts as well as making us feel uncomfortable at times. I have begun to see the blessing that comes from honouring God and others though. Deeper, more loving, and meaningful connections are being made. My heart is to inspire hope and Godly vision through the words I speak and the way I interact with others. As I call out the gold in those that God has placed in my life, treating them as Jesus would, I hope to see lives changed. Look at what happened when Jesus called out the gold in Peter. He called Peter a solid rock in Matthew 16:18 when Peter wasn't even there yet (he later denied Christ three times). However, as Jesus continued to call out that gold, Peter's life was transformed.
May my thoughts, words, and actions have such a powerful effect! I choose to honour rather than take the easy way out and be critical of someone. I know that I won't always get it right and will make mistakes, but I know that God is bigger than my weaknesses. He will give me strength to pick myself up (or remove my foot from my mouth), make things right, and take another step in becoming more like Christ. I can't wait to see what God continues to do in and through me as I honour those around me!