Listen: Chris Witts presents Morning Devotions.
It was Eleanor Roosevelt who once said, “No-one can make you feel inferior without your consent”. I think it’s a good statement, because so many people today feel a great sense of inferiority, and don’t know what to do about it. They feel trapped. They say things like, I’m no good—I’ll never amount to anything.
It’s damaging self-talk like this that makes people unhappy, unfulfilled, and miserable. We sometimes feel other people, including our friends, are more talented and successful than we, and as a result they look down on us and find us unattractive. We can become very angry, at ourselves and others, or blame others. This causes us to be isolated from others in case we get hurt.
I want to touch on this topic because I think it may be helpful.
We Need to Value Ourselves—God Does
Feeling inferior is a horrible feeling. Let’s remember that no-one is born inferior. We are each equal in the sight of God. Babies are just themselves. They watch what other people—especially their parents—do and say, how they react, and then draw their own conclusions about what they experience. Sometimes their parents show they are not confident in their living, and the child concludes he or she must be inferior as well. That’s usually how it happens. If you feel inferior to others, chances are you acquired this feeling in childhood and it just stayed with you over the years.
The problem is how we feel about ourselves determines the choices we make, the work we decide to do, the relationships we make, and how safe we feel in life. If we don’t value ourselves, we will never be happy. But let me give you a glimmer of hope—we can change this feeling. Feeling inferior is simply an idea, or a conclusion that’s been drawn from life’s experience, and it can be changed. Remember that everyone has disappointments, loss, heartache, separation, failure, and we each will die one day. We have to cope with life the best way we can, and take responsibility for ourselves.
The respected psychiatrist Dr Smiley Blanton tells of a man named Gillespie. He had a crippling inferiority complex and was emotionally paralysed. He went to a counsellor for help and eventually he told the counsellor that one day at school when we was 14 years of age, a teacher took him to the front of the class and said in a loud voice, “Your brains are smaller than a nutshell”. Gillespie never forgot those terrible words. They went deep down into his subconscious. I wonder how many other ‘Gillespies’ are out there, emotionally wounded.
We Bear the Image of God
The good news is that God made us and he loves us. You are the central object of his divine affection. He loves you with an eternal love, so much so that he sent his Son Jesus Christ to die on the cross so you can enjoy eternity with him. There is no need to feel worthless or inferior when we remember that God thinks you are worth everything. The Bible says, “God so loved the world…”—and the world includes you and me. Jesus reminded people that they are made in the image of God. He told them even the hairs on their head are numbered. He said we are more valuable to God than the birds of the air.
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So we need to remember who we are—not the product of a biological accident, but of the plan of God. Our life is his idea, and when he made us he put qualities within us that caused even the angels to marvel, because he made us in his image. So, do you see there is no need to go through life with an inferiority complex? You bear the image, the stamp, of the Eternal God.
God wants to use your full potential and bless your life in a way you can never imagine.
Listen to these beautiful words of Psalm 8 written by David:
You made man a little lower than the heavenly beings
and crowned him with glory and honour.
You made him ruler over the works of your hands;
you put everything under his feet.
Lord, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth! (Psalm 8:5-6;9 – NIV).
Paul told the Romans, “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus”. (Romans 8:1). In Christ, we are new people, and do not need to feel inferior to other people. When we become a Christian, we belong to God’s family and it’s a great thing to belong to. If you can move on from this destructive sense of failure, God will help you develop your talents and abilities as he wants, and it will mean a happier and more productive you. He wants to use your full potential and bless your life in a way you can never imagine.
Look to God and follow him and you need not feel inferior.
(To be continued in Inferiority Complex – Part 2)