Children and children at heart love the modern fairy tale of Shrek. It’s a love story with a surprising ending that can open our hearts to be healed by God’s love and grace.
The Self-Esteem of an Ogre
Shrek is a hideous green monster who falls in love with a princess named Fiona. Of course, he has little hope of winning the pretty girl’s heart. How could an ogre and outcast like him compete with a rich, handsome king?
But Shrek doesn’t realize that the princess actually is attracted to him. You see, she is tormented by a shameful secret: at night: she loses her beauty and returns to being an ugly ogre!
The ending of the story turns the typical fairy tale upside down. The king does not win the princess’ heart. Shrek and the ogre princess are not transformed into beautiful people forever. Nor do they become king and queen to rule the land. Instead, when Shrek declares his love for the princess with a kiss she is magically transformed into an ogre and a poor commoner like himself!
Along with Shrek, Fiona learns not to hide her ugliness anymore. She doesn’t pretend to be a beautiful princess and he doesn’t wish to be a handsome prince. Instead, because of their love for one another, they are both free and happy to be the ugly ogres that they are and an inner beauty radiates from their souls.
Jesus Became like an Ogre for Us!
Sometimes we all feel ugly — if not physically then emotionally — and we long to be loved as beautiful. Even supermodels and superstars feel unattractive or lost in the crowd at times and yearn to stand out as significant. We feel ugly because of the ugliness of our sin or others’ sin against us. We also feel ugly because of self-condemnation. Both are taken care of at the cross.
Amazingly, God’s love for us is so great that he found you and I in our orgreliness and he didn’t turn away! In Jesus he became like an ogre and loved us right where we were. He felt our pain. He took our sin into Himself. He answered the cry of our hearts with his merciful forgiveness and gracious acceptance that recovers in our souls our long, lost glory, restoring in us the image of God in which we were created. It’s a beautiful story. It’s God’s story and he’s made it our story.
It’s the gospel!
Godly Self-Esteen is Believing you are God’s Masterpiece!
Do you feel beautiful to God? Do you believe that you’re glorious? It takes more than positive thinking to develop godly self-esteem. It takes Biblical thinking that soaks all the down into our heart and our bones.
Open your mind and heart to be renewed in God’s Word. The Bible says that you are glorious! “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so that we can do the good things he planned for us long ago” (Ephesians 2:10, NLT). “And we, who with unveiled faces all reflectthe Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit” (1 Corinthians 3:18, NIV84).
But in your heart it may be hard for you to believe that God has bestowed his glory on you, that you are his masterpiece. Maybe you have never experienced anything like God’s love in your family or other close relationships. Maybe you have been mistreated and learned to feel guilty or unworthy.
Lift your Head High!
With practice meditating on God’s Word and learning to apply it in the midst of stress and pain our self-image can be renewed (Romans 12:1-3). Confessing our sins and pouring out our hearts to God in prayer can heal us, especially as we learn to trust in God’s love through the help of Christ’s Ambassadors (James 5:16, 1 Corinthians 5:20). By learning to reach out to hold the hand of heaven in the opportunities and challenges of our lives we are empowered to do great things for God!
We can know in personal experience that because of God’s love to us in Christ Jesus we are no longer ogres, but are beautiful and glorious masterpieces of God! Jesus said that you and I are the light of the world right where we are so let’s shine for him! (Matthew 5:14).
The Ultimate Expression of God’s Love For You!
Look to Jesus as he carries his cross to Calvary Hill and as he’s crucified to forgive us of our sins and reconcile us to God, our loving Father. This is the perfect, unfailing love that we long for! In Jesus and through his death and resurrection the heavens are truly opened to us!
Repeatedly I’ve deepened my appreciation for God’s love by going to the cross of Christ. I do this with you in my booklet of Gospel stories, meditations, and prayers: Unforsaken: With Jesus on the Stations of the Cross. This is great for personal devotions, small groups, or retreats.