In a moment of naked honesty, ask yourself, "Do I wholeheartedly trust that God likes me?" (Not loves me, because theologically God can't do otherwise.) "And do I trust that God likes me, not after I clean up my act and eliminate every trace of sin, selfishness, and dishonesty; not after I develop a disciplined prayer life and spend ten years in Calcutta with Mother Teresa's missionaries; but in this moment, right now, right here, with all my faults and weaknesses?" If you answer without hesitation, "Oh yes, God does like me; in fact, he's very fond of me," you're living in the wisdom of accepted tenderness.
from The Wisdom of Tenderness: What Happens when God's Fierce Mercy Tranforms Our Lives, by Brennan Manning. HarperCollins, 2004.