how do you define yourself?

what is it that defines who we are and how we view ourselves? Most often I think it is other people. We compare ourselves to other people, to the social scale, to the style of clothing, to the professions, the interests, the hobbies, the religions of other people. And when we find our identity in any or all of those things, it is never certain. We never know if one day someone will like us or if one day our clothes will be in fashion or whether someone else's religion or way of thinking will become the consensus. We feel the need to prove we are better than others so that we will stay in that 'accepted' minority at the top and we feel the need to defend ourselves and our beliefs and our clothes and our lifestyle and we will do whatever is necessary to do that. What we forget is that we are loved unconditionally. We forget our identity in Christ. If I know and understand in my heart that Christ loves me unconditionally, I don't feel the need to destroy anything, only to build it up in others. Because I am safe. Because I know I am loved, I feel free to love others unconditionally, and I have an example of what that looks like and feels like. I don't feel the need to tear down anybody's sense of themself, only to build up in them Christ's view of them. And in turn, they will feel safe to do the same with me and with others. THAT is how we truly foster community. We LOVE PEOPLE. Because we understand that in the end, it isn't that important whether we are what our government or society or peer group or religious majority tell us we should be, we are what Christ tells us we are and who He is making us. And from another angle, we recognize that it isn't that important that other people are any of those things either, or for that matter, it's not that important that other people are what I think they should be either. They are who Christ says they are, and who He is making them. And we will be ok to let them be who they are and to be who we are, and in the end, as we all grow closer to who God made us (because essentially we are changed beings, the goal of life for a Christian is really to be more and more who they are), we will find out that we feel safe. And if we are always seeking that, we will find it very natural to feel a strong connection to other humans (christian or not) rather than a strong antithesis or antagonism.

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