We are all actors. Every one of us. Because we all follow a narrative. That narrative is determined by the internal messages that we heed. These voices define us. They determine what we think we are capable of. They determine the our perceived value. These voices directly affect the practical actions that we take on a daily basis.
The most important internal voice in my life is:
You are OK.
This message deeply resonates with how Jesus walked through life at a very patient three miles an hour; slow enough to connect, see, and understand. Everything about his heart, posture, and words communicated, “You are ok.” This was certainly true when he was with the woman at the well, Zacheous, the bleeding woman, the paralytic man, the blind men, the thief on the cross beside him, and with Peter while eating breakfast after his resurrection.
Paul also carried this forward, and perhaps even clarified it when he said, “Everything is permissible [but not everything is beneficial].” (1 Cor 10:23)
You are OK.
This is not just a misdirected message that will just give me some sort of unhealthy permission to stay where I am. Those who make such a claim are operating out of a message of fear; not hope, not goodness. In fact it may betray much about their own conflicted inner life. The trick, that they don’t understand, is that true change comes out of complete peace and acceptance. True change comes out of no longer needing to change in order to be accepted. It can’t even be soiled with a soft form of manipulation that tries to mask itself as OKness, but is really just a nicer form of guilt based change. That has never worked for me.
Instead, “you are OK,” is a message of affirmation. It is a message of identity. It is a message of value. It is a message of hope. It is message that says,
Accept that you are accepted.
Accept that you don’t need to change to be accepted.
It is a message that repeatedly and patiently reminds us that because of what the Ultimate has done, because of what is at the heart of the universe (God’s love, mercy, forgiveness)… you are ok.
Accept that you don’t need to change.
And… strangely enough...
In the very act of knowing that I do not have to change, I discover the ability to change.
I believe that Paul is serious when he claimed, “All things are permissible, but not all things are helpful.” We often want to insert exceptions into this claim, but he does no such thing. He only insists that perhaps where we are is not the most helpful place to be. His claim of OKness is radical.
Like wise, to paraphrase Jurgen Moltmann:
The decision to begin to liberate the oppresse oppressor has nothing to do with feeling guilty, but has everything to do with “striking out a new direction towards the future of one’s own humanity.”
It is only in the act of OKness that we are able to truely confront the reality about of our lives and begin the long process of healing. In the same spirit it is only through the message of OKness that we are able to survive our inevitable failure in that process.
The message of OKness doesn’t result in ignoring or glossing over our faults, instead it does quite the opposite.
In fundamentalism our faults are pointed out in order to create a manipulative need for change/repentance/salvation-prayer.
In contrast, OKness invites us to face the possibility that we are even darker and more selfish than we would ever be willing to admi
This may not make sense because, clearly, fundamentalism would ideologically assert that human beings are far worse creatures than OKness would, but in practice an individual will only