In this age of protecting self-esteem, it can be the case we avoid thinking bad things about ourselves spiritually. While it is true that there were days when we could think of nothing else perhaps, my experience both in myself and in my work with others is that maybe the concept of self needs a little “correction”. Perhaps the current state of affairs is the result of a correction when the emphasis on certain devotionals or sins might have been out of proportion, it seems to me today that it is now the case that too often we are more concerned with not bruising fragile egos. At least I think that is the case with me sometimes.
When I think of my own spiritual life, I do not always like to think that if God were simply a God of justice, then I would be condemned for all eternity. But God is not simply a God of justice, since his justice is tempered by his mercy. Hear these comforting words again from the first reading.
But God, who is rich in mercy, because of the great love he had for us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, brought us to life with Christ (by grace you have been saved), raised us up with him, and seated us with him in the heavens in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.
Perhaps a correction became necessary from previous ages because the mercy of God was not considered forcefully enough. Perhaps it was because we underestimated the power of the love of God, that love for each one of us that was so powerfully expressed when we were created. At the same time, too often, we do not embrace those elements of our own selves that show forth the best of humanness, in the image of God.
Perhaps this over indulgence in self esteem is because we have become fascinated by the works of our hands. I must admit I share a particular fascination with technology. I remember vividly the first time, in the early 1990s that I downloaded a radar and satellite weather picture on my computer with its 40Mb hard drive. It is very hard for me to grasp that the smart phone in my pocket is so much more powerful than the first desktop computer I had.