Fr. Henri J.M. Nouwen wrote the following in his book, The Return of the Prodigal Son.
“I do not think I am alone in this struggle to claim God’s first love and my original goodness. Beneath much human assertiveness, competitiveness, and rivalry; beneath much self-confidence and even arrogance, there is often a very insecure heart, much less sure of itself than outward behavior would lead one to believe. I have often been shocked to discover that men and women with obvious talents and with many rewards for their accomplishments have so many doubts about their own goodness. Instead of experiencing their outward successes as a sign of their inner beauty, they live them as a cover-up for their sense of personal worthlessness. Not a few have said to me: ‘If people only knew what goes on in my innermost self, they would stop their applause and praise.” — Henri J. M. Nouwen, The Return of the Prodigal Son, pg. 108.
The more often I preach on Sundays, the more often I find myself in preparation thinking about humanity’s “Original Dignity”, or if you will as Nouwen says, “Original Goodness”. It is so counter-cultural actually. To reclaim our original goodness, our relationship with God as sons and daughters, we must allow God to find us. We must not hide as Adam and Eve did after their sin. God comes looking for us. We need only show ourselves. We don’t have to be all that assertive, and certainly not filled with a competitve spirit that our contemporary culture seems to force on us.
We are loved by God as we are.