Matters of Faith: WITH THESE TWO WORDS

Rev. J_Loren RussellWith These Words

by Rev. J. Loren Russell, BS, MDiv

Someone posted a question on their Facebook page, “If you could send a two-word message to yourself as a teen, what would you say?” My response was “Be yourself!” With these two words, I would encourage myself to look within to see and then start early to make myself into the man The Lord created me to be, not the character I fashioned based on the opinions, comments and observations of others.

With these two words, I would speak to myself and forgive myself for not taking a stronger role in shaping my persona early in life so that I wouldn’t have to go back and do it again once I came to place of understanding.

With these two words, I would encourage myself to forgive myself for not seeing the blessings that are wrapped up in every challenge, every hardship, every trial that I’ve faced in life. With these two words, I would recognize that God forgives me and that would help me to overcome the difficulty of forgiving myself.

With these two words, I would encourage my family and my friends to ignore whatever or whoever it was that told them that they were stupid, dumb, ugly and ignorant, no good, a mistake, just like their father/mother.., a waste.

With these two words, I would tell them that whoever or whatever it was holding them back, preventing them from believing in themselves, discouraging and shattering  their dreams, is wrong, mistaken, misguided, lying, and completely off base.

With these two words, I would encourage myself and others that the only validation those naysayers and negative situations received was those that were given them in our own minds and in our own spirits. I would let them know that it was our internalization of the negative that prevents us from moving to the positive. With these two words, I would tell them none of it is true!

David writes of his own formation, “I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well” (Psalm 139:14). In spite of his flaws and his sins, and he had many, David recognized that God does not make junk, and He does not make mistakes. The adulterer that he was; the liar that he was; the murderer that he was, did not stop The Lord from loving him and calling him “a man after His own heart.” You are no different. “Every saint has a past, but every sinner has a future!” You have never been, nor will ever be junk or a mistake!

With these two words, you now know that none of those negative words or situations were true. So, go ahead, forgive yourself! Go ahead, be who you were created to be! Go ahead, “Be yourself!” And…,

Be blessed!

Rev. J. Loren Russell, BS, MDiv is an associate minister at both Goodwill Baptist and Greater Universal Baptist Churches in the Bronx.

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