Good Shepherd Lutheran

Who Are You? Matthew 3:16-17
Too often we let others define who we are. We’re identified by our performance at work, how much money we make or our social status. We judge our children by how they do at school or at home, the way they dress or the company they keep. But none of those things are really who we are.
Our real identity, our Christian identity, is people who are loved by God. That’s where we find our value and are given the gift of being able to see the true value of every other human being as well.
Mario had lived on the streets of New York City for 30 years. The people who passed him by called him many things: a bum, homeless, a pan handler, even human waste. People avoided him and tried not to look at him, but would we have behaved any differently? We’re all tempted, at times, to forget that God loves all people equally. That we’re all equally entitled to be called God’s children.
It’s easy to forget this when we meet a drug addicted homeless person, someone who’s seen by others as unattractive. We certainly forget this when we attach any sort of negative labels to other people.
If we don’t pay attention, we’ll find that God’s voice and our identity as God’s children gets drowned out by our judgments, words, actions, or even our inaction. When this happens, God’s love shines a little less brightly in our world, and in us.
But despite those who had declared Mario to be worthless, this man continued to carry his baptismal certificate and his birth certificate in his pocket. His birth certificate proved that he had parents who gave him birth and named him. His baptismal certificate reminded him that God had loved him and claimed him. Despite appearances, Mario was a beloved child of God, and he knew it.
For each of us who’ve had water poured over us in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, let’s allow these words to sink in and define us: “I am a beloved child of God and God is pleased with me.”
I don’t remember my actual baptism, but my entire life is built on it nonetheless. I’m thankful for it, and as we live through our days and hear others judge us, we need to remember that God’s voice at Jesus’ baptism is calling to us as well.
When we hear ourselves putting someone else down for cutting us off in traffic or for bothering us for money or food, or for whatever ‘annoyance’ we feel when we think we’re being bothered with God’s other children, we need to listen again to God’s voice at Jesus’ baptism. “You are my son, my daughter, my beloved, with you I am well-pleased.”
Who are you? God has claimed you as a child of God! He’s given you a new identity, and that’s who you truly are.