«Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be»(l John 3:2).
Who am l? This is a question that is constantly present in the people’s lives and again and again we try to answer it during our lifetime. The need to answer it is «so vital and imperative that man could not remain sane if he did not find some way of satisfying it» (says Erich Fromm in his book The Sane Society). It does not matter how many times you have answered it, this question may reappear with more or less strength in different situations, generating distinct degrees of anxiety. The answer we give has a transcendental significance because it is related to our identity which strongly influences our thoughts, feelings, actions and even personality.
How does identity influence personality? Well then, imagine that a child would answer the question «who am I?» with «I’m a donkey!» (or at least this is what he repeatedly heard from his colleagues!). Therefore, to be consistent with his identity, he will behave in accordance with what he believes he is. Unfortunately, children are gullible enough with regard to what others say about them and will accept anything they are told. Some people believe that being «bad» is better than being a «nobody.» On the contrary, a child who is told: «You are important,» «You are precious,» «You are of so much help» will assume such traits as his being (identity) and will subsequently act accordingly.
Many people also wrongly reprove others by attributing their mistakes to aspects of their personality. Saying «You are a fool» and «What you did is a foolish thing» are two completely different things. In the first case, the identity is affected; in the second one, it is a fact or an action which is pointed out. Many have similar ideas about their own identity when they say: «I’m obese,» «I’m depressed,» «I’m a drug addict» or «I’m gay,» when, in the worst case scenario, they should say: «I suffer from obesity,» «I suffer from depression,» «l suffer from addiction» or «l have a homosexual tendency.» One day, something that you have will go away or will no longer apply to you while something that is part of your identity will stay with you till the end.
Have you properly answered the initial question? You do not need to find an answer by looking at how you feel or at how you have behaved recently to know who you are. Do not even listen to what the others say about you. The Bible says «we are children of God» (1 John 3:2), so let us then live up to the expectations of being children of our heavenly Father.