Growing up with abuse, and I think it’s the same with any kind of abuse, we absorb the feeling that we are Wrong. Not that we do wrong, but that something in our core, our very being makes us Wrong. We can ask for forgiveness and do penance all day long, but it doesn’t change the fact that we are Wrong. Or at least that’s what we come to believe.
Then we grow up into Wrong adults. Somehow we try to muddle through life, trying to do things right. We try to look normal. We try to be good, while always believing we’re living a lie. We live in constant fear of being found out.
Sometimes we choose to give into the Wrong and just live as badly as we feel. We do things we hate, things our conscience tells us are wrong, as we tell ourselves that’s just who we are, that we’re finally being “authentic.” We give up and surrender to the Wrongness.
Or we learn to be good actors. Most of us play our parts so well, we would be worthy of an Oscar, but we can’t admit it’s an act. Not even to ourselves. At least not consciously. We study other people and learn to act the part of responsible adults. We may even act the part of wife and mother, living in terror, because we know we don’t have a clue what we should be doing. After all, we’re only acting out a part, playing a character we have devised. But no one’s shown us the script. We’re scared and miserable.
For most of us, the strain eventually takes its toll, and our carefully crafted veneer begins to crack. Memories remind us of who we are, or rather of what we are: Wrong. It has become a fundamental part of our being.
There is good news. WE ARE NOT Wrong! We were never Wrong. We were created by God in His image. And as Mahalia Jackson used to say, “God don’t make no junk!” And he certainly doesn’t fashion someone in His image and call it Wrong. We were precious children. Gifts of God to our families. Their inability to recognize that and cherish their gifts was all about them, not us.
When a piece of expensive, finely crafted sterling silver is tossed in a drawer or cabinet and forgotten, it eventually looks like an ugly, tarnished, worthless piece of junk. But is it really? No. It is still a fine piece of silver of great value. The fact that its owner didn’t care for it properly didn’t change its value. And that’s the way it is with us. Those who hurt us, for reasons of their own, didn’t recognize our value, but it never diminished that we were, are, wondrous, precious gifts of God.
When you have that light bulb moment, and you realize that you are not Wrong, no matter how you feel, you’re on the road toward recovery. It takes diligence to daily refute the lie and reclaim your value. I pray that you will today begin to recognize what a precious gift you are to the world. Savor it for a while. Wallow in the thought. Then make a decision to choose the truth. It will change your life.