When we become like the oranges I described, it means we’ve forgotten the source of all we are and all we have. We don’t deserve respect, honor, and love because of the positions we hold in society; we deserve those things because we were created by God, redeemed by Jesus, and are sustained by the Holy Spirit. We deserve all those things because God loves us, and God loves us not because of who we are, but because of who God is. We deserve respect, honor, and love merely because we were born, merely because we exist.
When we forget that it is God’s love that is the source of all we are and all we have, then we grasp at other things to justify ourselves, things that have no value or permanence in and of themselves in the kingdom of God, things like money, position, authority, beauty. We layer those things on top of the emptiness we feel, thinking that they will either fill or hide the emptiness, and hoping that they will distract people so that they won’t notice the emptiness. And then we live in fear and with anxiety because we don’t feel we really deserve the honor, respect, and love we are receiving. We live like those oranges whose beauty hides the emptiness within. We live wondering when the outer layer will be peeled off and our emptiness will be exposed. We live wondering when we will be tossed aside because we don’t deserve what we have been given. We live, knowing somewhere deep inside, that “all who exalt themselves will be humbled” (Mt 23:12a).
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