"I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself. My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me."
-1 Corinthians 4: 3-4
On Sunday night, we listened to a fantastic Tim Keller sermon (really though, they're all fantastic). The title of his sermon was "Blessed Self-Forgetfulness" and even though it was recorded in 2002 and I picked it out pretty randomly out of dozens of options, it felt like those words were meant just for me.
Blessed Self-Forgetfulness. I've been repeating this phrase to myself over the last few days and praying for it to become a part of me. You see, as humans we are everything but self-forgetful. Keller points out that we are so driven by our egos, by what others think of us, by what makes us feel good. We are so self-focused that "every triumph and every slight has the potential to send us either into pride or despondency." We rely so heavily on the opinions of the world, and on our own opinions of ourselves.
The Apostle Paul has proposed another way--to forget ourselves. If we can cease caring what other people think of us, but even more importantly, cease caring what we think about ourselves. Doesn't that sound absolutely foreign? As Keller puts it, "[Paul] is moving into territory that we don't know anything about." This isn't how we naturally work.
It's important to note that Paul is not encouraging low self-esteem or self-loathing. Absolutely not. "It's not thinking more of yourself, not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less." Now doesn't that sound refreshing? Feeling free from your own thoughts and judgments about yourself? Keller actually remarks on the freedom we would receive from being in this state of mind, as he calls it at one point, "the blessed rest of self-forgetfulness."
You see, it is His opinion only that counts. Not mine or yours. There is so much peace in this way of being. The next time I catch myself focusing on something about me, or thinking too hard about what someone else might think, I'm going to try to remember the last line of this sermon: "I don't care what you think, I don't care what I think, I only care what the Lord thinks, and He has said 'You are my beloved child in whom I am well pleased.'" And I'm going to keep praying for the blessed rest of self-forgetfulness.