Ralph Ellison (1913-1994), was an African-American scholar and writer. In his novel, “Invisible Man” he makes this statement: “When I discover who I am, I’ll be free.” But as all of us know, discovering who we really are is tough to do. In fact, sometimes we learn more about ourselves from others than we do ourselves. But Ellison was talking about introspection. In psychology, this is defined as informally examining our own internal thoughts and feelings. By that it means, when we reflect on our thoughts, emotions, and memories and examine what they mean, we are engaging in introspection.
King David went through this process, but when unable to satisfy his doubts he went to God and prayed: “Examine me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my thoughts. See if there is in me any hurtful way, and lead me along the eternal way.”1 It wasn’t that David sought for God to tell him he was better than everyone else, but that David wanted to see more clearly why he was saying and doing the things he did, and how if affected others.
In that vein, I would take what Ellison said and render it this way: “When I discover the great I AM, then I’ll be free.” This was a promise that Jesus made: “If the Son makes you free, you are really free.”2 So the first step is getting to know the Son. And we can get to know Him better by examining what He said and how He interacted with others.
A renegade seaman named John Newton made this same discovery and wrote a song about it: “Amazing grace! How sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me! I once was lost, but now am found; was blind, but now I see.” So, if you have any family members or friends who have not yet surrendered their lives to God, and made Jesus Christ their Lord and Savior, it may be because they have not yet discovered who they are so they can see that only God’s Son can really set them free. – Dr. Robert R Seyda
1Psalm 139:23, 24 – Complete Jewish Bible