It’s Narcissist Friday!
Before-and-after photos are such a normal and expected part of marketing these days that advertisers will often go to great lengths to make them impressive. I remember many years ago noticing that the weight-loss advertisements simply showed the person’s belly relaxed in the before and tightened in the after. There was really no change. But the ones that really got noticed were those that actually had different people in the two photos. Sometimes you can see a tattoo or even a different skin color between the two pics.
One of the keys that will allow us to move into new areas of life with confidence is understanding the truth about ourselves. Who you were before vs who you are now. If there has been a change, you want to acknowledge that change.
When Jesus saw the man who had been born blind, He immediately saw the man’s need. He saw him as a blind man who needed healing. That’s important. Jesus didn’t see the man as a lower class Jew. He didn’t categorize the man. Nor did He see the man as an object lesson. He saw the true need of the man’s life. That was before.
Then Jesus healed the man.
Later, after the man was questioned and rejected by the Jewish leaders, Jesus found him again. Notice that Jesus sought the man out. When Jesus found the man, discouraged and still alone, it was important to remind him what had happened.
“Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when He had found him, He said to him, “Do you believe in the Son of God?” He answered and said, “Who is He, Lord, that I may believe in Him?” And Jesus said to him, “You have both seen Him and it is He who is talking with you.” Then he said, “Lord, I believe!” And he worshiped Him.” (John 9:35–38, NKJV)
“You have seen Him,” Jesus said, “and I am He.” The man had met Jesus and his life was entirely different. Everything was new…because of Jesus. That was after.
Abusers will not want you to escape your past. They will try to keep you where you were weak and confused and discouraged. They will try to ignore the changes that have happened, the new you. And they want you to forget. Your value to them lies in their ability to manipulate and control you. If you have changed, that ability is gone. So, you must never leave what you were before.
But Jesus has reached into your life and made a difference. You are not the same person you were. The blind man was no longer blind! The only people who would think of his blindness were those who knew him before, and they could no longer call him “the blind man.” They didn’t quite know what to call him yet. But listen: anyone who met him from that point on would not associate blindness with the man.
And anyone who meets you after Jesus touches your life will not know the you of the past. You are only the “after.” The new you. The old you, as Jesus said, is gone. There may be those who remember. You may remember. But you are not that person.
You see, there is great strength in knowing the truth about yourself. If you allow the evil ones to convince you that you are still that weak and compromised person, without hope or promise, then they will continue to control you. But if you embrace the new life Jesus has given you, they cannot touch you.
The new you is part of the truth you must remember and trust. It is a gift from the Lord who loves you.