03 May 2009


The developmental psychologist Erik Erikson said that a person’s identity is formed by relationships. In other words, at the deepest level our self-concept is defined by how we stand in relation to those around us. As people pass in and out of our lives we change . . . who we are changes.

One of the best friends I’ve had in years, John Willneff, moved back to Maryland, Friday. John served on a submarine while in the military. Early on I think we recognized in each other someone else who has witnessed humanity at its worst and then experienced rescue, redemption by an incomprehensible love. Those who have been forgiven much love much.

Jesus said, “Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” (Matthew 10:39). When we surrender self-interest to Love and Truth, we enter into a relationship so profound the change to our identity is described by Jesus as a rebirth. We become something new.

My friend John drew people to him while in Daytona because he radiates Love to those around him and proclaims God’s Truth while doing so. I bet John will continue to do the same in Maryland.

. . . Father, thank you for the opportunity to love and serve people around us. Father, constantly remind us of the great paradox, the more we love others and take the focus off ourselves, the more we find purpose and peace, the closer we are to You. Father, send your angels to protect John Willneff, and send Your Holy Spirit to guide him. We cry out to You in Jesus name.

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