Most people struggle with life at times. We live in a world where we are constantly invited to compare ourselves to others, especially on social media. It can feel hard to keep pace with everyone else. Many manage to hide how they really feel, but underneath we can feel our lives are not all we had hoped for, that we have messed up or let people down. It is easy to get trapped in a downward spiral and end up with a very negative view of ourselves. We might feel worthless, unwanted or unloved – even if we manage to disguise it.
It's easy to have a negative image of God too. We can imagine God as remote, unapproachable and harsh – just waiting to catch us out when we do something wrong. When we think of God like this, it is easy to see why we might feel we just aren’t good enough.
No-one’s perfect - it doesn’t matter
It is a common idea that you need to be perfect to be acceptable to God. The trouble with that is that none of us is perfect. We have all made mistakes and done things wrong.
Perhaps we have let someone down, or hurt someone, or have developed habits or a way of life which we know are destructive, but cannot stop.
You might have tried to make a fresh start but got discouraged when you slipped up again. The good news of Christianity is that there is hope: whatever mistakes you have made, God is always ready to help us begin again when we come to him. It is never too late. The Bible teaches that God knows that we all mess up and fall short of perfection, but he created us to have a relationship with him and he is always willing to forgive us, accept us and change our lives.
You don’t need to be a ‘religious’ person to have that relationship with God. The stereotypical religious person is not very attractive: they are often portrayed as dull, humourless, judgemental and even hypocritical. Most Christians are nothing like that. And nor was Jesus Christ, the founder of Christianity. The Bible tells us that Jesus enjoyed parties and celebrations and spent most of his time with ordinary people and outsiders, rather than the ‘in’ crowd. And he had very little time for hypocritical religious types.
Society can be particularly harsh with older people, sometimes making them feel overlooked or even invisible. God sees things differently. For him all lives matter and every single person is of infinite value, regardless of age. It is never too late to find out how much God loves you.
God is perfect
If you want to know about God, where do you start? The Bible teaches that God came to live among us in human form around 2,000 years ago as Jesus Christ. The best way to find out about God is to learn more about Jesus Christ. Jesus came to restore the relationship between God and humanity. He took the initiative. God wants a personal relationship with each of us.
The Bible tells us that God is perfect. He is good, kind, compassionate and loving. He wants all of us to flourish. When bad things happen, people often conclude that this is not true. But God’s character doesn’t change. He shows us mercy even when we don’t deserve it. Christians all over the world would say that they have a personal relationship with God, not because they are good enough but because they are loved by God.
A relationship with God is not an isolated one. Becoming a follower of Jesus brings you into his family, the Church, a place where your faith can be nurtured, and you can love and serve others. Of course, the Church is not perfect, but at heart, it is a place of welcome and acceptance – for everyone.
If you would like to buy a longer booklet exploring this question, please go to https://www.cpo.org.uk/explore-project