St Paul says, "For now we see in a mirror dimly [Gk: in a riddle], but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been known." (1 Corinthians 13:12) He speaks of the mysteries, the things we cannot understand now in this present age but will when we see God face to face in the age to come.

Then I will know fully, even as I have been known. I am a mystery to myself. But not to God.

We have distorted views of ourselves. We do not see ourselves as God sees us, we do not know ourselves as God knows us. We focus on our defects, our shortcomings, our weirdness (how often does one say, sadly, "I guess I'm just not like other people?") and we despair of our worthiness. We all have those days when we think, "I am not a very good [parent, friend, businessperson, provider, pastor.... fill in the blank]." Some of us despair of our worthiness before God - "I am not a very good Christian/Jew/Person because I do/don't [fill in the blank] and I'm probably going to hell/whatever isn't 'heaven.'" And we imagine that God also focuses on our defects etc.

Perhaps it's better to write it this way: God does not see us as we see ourselves. We focus on our brokenness and think that brokenness disqualifies us from succeeding with God, however we might think of "success" in terms of our relationship with God. But God does not see us this way. God is with us in our brokenness and calls us out into wholeness, but that's not a threat, as in "Straighten up or you'll get what's coming to you." God calls us into life out of the darkness (of despair, of pain, of down-on-myselfness) not because we need to make ourselves worthy but because God has already made us worthy. It isn't for nothing that so many of my Episcopal priest friends particularly like Eucharistic Prayer B because it says to God "You have made us worthy to stand before You." Because apparently many of us frequently need to be reminded of that fact. We need to be reminded that it is God who has made us worthy; we cannot save ourselves. We need to be reminded because many of us think, deep down inside, that we are not worth saving, really. Because we are/are not [fill in the blank here].

We have distorted vision. We do not see ourselves, or others, clearly. We do not see ourselves as God sees us. God does not see us as we see ourselves. For that, I am thankful.