This past week in a radio program on NPR, three people were discussing their sense of identity
One was a young white female double amputee; the other was a black male in his 30’s who was just a few months out of prison as a result of a felony conviction; the other was some poor soul who was trying to figure out exactly who she was.
The amputee was discussing how she experienced others experiencing her. Because she believed others viewed her as a handicapped double amputee, she believed THAT was just "who" she was. She belonged to that belief.
The black man explained that in experiencing how others experienced him, it was obvious that his skin color was a factor in how he was viewed by others and whereas it was something he could not change he believed THAT was just “who” he was, a black man with a felony conviction on his record. He belonged to that belief.
The poor soul who was struggling to figure out who she was concluded that if she didn’t know who she was how could anyone else and bottom line, she needed help. Though sad, her description of herself was really quite hilarious and maybe that will help her figure out who she is. Whatever the outcome, however, she will continue to hold that that belief about herself.
"Who Am I?" Consciously, and sadly unconsciously, untold billions of people have no idea of "Who They Are".
The Tetherball game is a wonderful metaphor for how we humans deal with the world around us. The game is simple. You have a tall pole which is usually sunk in concrete in the ground, very sturdy. From the top of the pole comes a long rope at the end of which is attached a ball, about the size of a volleyball.
In life, you will at some point come to the realization that you are either the pole or the ball. The pole is securely mounted in the earth. It knows who it is, and to whom it belongs. The ball is all over the place, has no idea of who it is other than it is a ball that it is tossed to and fro by whomever happens to hit it.
Prince Charles, the Duke of Wales in England is a powerful metaphor in helping us to better understand this "Who Am I" dilemma.
He is “Who He Is" not because of what he does, the clothes he wears, the Titles he holds, to whom he is married, nor even how he is perceived by his subjects. In fact, it matters not how he is perceived by his subjects because they cannot change one thing about 'Who He Is', He is a Prince, and he is a Prince because of to whom he belongs and to whom he owes his allegiance and obedience.
In the above examples, the young girl who is the amputee has come to believe that her double amputee/handicapped status is what defines her and thus that is who she is. She is the only one who can change that.
The young black man has come to believe that his skin color and his felony conviction is what defines him for others and so that is who he has come to believe he is. He is the only one who can change that.
Even the woman who is struggling to find herself, to determine who she is, she will never complete that quest until she acknowledges to whom she belongs, and who she is willing to serve and obey.
Whether or not you believe in the God who created the universe, you are one of His children. He is a King. You are a child of a King, consequently you are a Prince or a Princess. If you believe in His Son, who died for you, then you are an heir with Him in the Kingdom of God and entitled to all the rights and privileges due a Prince.
"For we are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus."
Thus, you belong to your Father, the King, and it is to Him you owe complete allegiance and obedience. And no one can change that.
Who Am I? I am who I believe I am until such time that I come to understand to whom I belong and to whom I owe complete allegiance and obedience. Then I will know who I REALLY AM.
"....and as children, we are then heirs—heirs of God and
joint heirs with Christ." (Romans 8:17)
John Newton believed he was a slave trader. When he came to believe in Jesus as his Lord and Savior, he took his rightful position as a Child of the King, a joint heir with Christ in the Kingdom of God with all the rights and privileges that accrue to a Prince.
His whole life changed and He penned the world’s single most beloved Hymn, AMAZING GRACE.
OH! REALLY? Hmm….