Last night, I watched a movie with the “Faith and Film” small group I am part of. I’d seen the film before, but watching in the context of this group – where we were expected to discuss our observations within the story about God and humanity – was a different experience. (I’ve heard the book is good, but I’ve not read it.)
The Perks of Being a Wallflower touches on several themes (some of which are difficult): child abuse, homosexuality, bullying, drugs, dysfunctional relationships, mental health, bereavement, identity, etc. As I watched the film, I was struck by each character’s search for intimacy and at the same time their fear of it. It seemed almost every person was desperately searching for love, but they were terrified if people knew who they really were, rejection would be offered instead. (Sadly, in some cases, that proved true.)
It hit me as I watched that as people created in the image of a relational God, one of our deepest needs is intimacy. We long to be known and accepted for who we truly are. We desire deep connection with others… and Satan has capitalized on this need with so many perversions of true intimacy. (Pornography, abuse, casual sex separate from marriage or even love, etc.)
I think one of the lines that struck me most was spoken to Charlie (the main character, a high school freshman) by his English teacher. Charlie has developed feelings for his friend Sam, but she is dating someone else, someone who treats her badly. One day, Charlie asks his teacher why people choose to date the wrong people. The response from Mr. Anderson is this: “People accept the love they think they deserve.”
This quote has been going around in my head all day. It’s so true. We hear stories all the time of people who get into one bad relationship after another, lamenting that they always attract the jerks; some stay in damaging relationships; perhaps some choose no relationship at all. Maybe this isn’t always the reason, but I think often these people believe they don’t deserve anything better.
As I was praying this morning, my heart cried out for people to have a revelation of how God sees them. There have been days I question whether I’m worth loving or whether I deserve the kind of love I long for, days when I feared if anyone knew the true me they’d be gone in a flash. Those are the days where the Enemy finds a small opening to whisper lies about who I am and what I’m worth, and the only antidote for those lies is a glimpse of the truth of how God feels about me.
My heart breaks for so many in our world who are held captive by lies telling them they aren’t worth love, they aren’t seen or known for who they are, and if they were, rejection would be the result. I want so much for them to know that the One who made them also sees them and loves them beyond their ability to comprehend. HE has deemed each one of us worthy of all the love we long for, and I pray that eyes would be opened to that reality.
Wherever you are today, know that God has determined your worth, and you are worthy of so much more than you can imagine… and so is that annoying person in your office or home or the street. Let’s accept the intimacy and identity God offers us, and then offer that to a world that is dying to be known and loved.