By Chris WittsMonday 15 Jul 2013Morning Devotions with Chris WittsUncategorizedReading Time: 0 minutes
How often have you heard the phrase,”You are your own worst enemy”? Perhaps you’ve had a bad day and yet can’t say why. No-one has upset you,but you feel dejected,depressed,or you feel like a failure. We also talk a lot about self-image,and some of us need to be reminded we are special. Why? Because God has created us. As a little boy once said,”God don’t make junk.” And that’s true.
A philosopher of ancient times once said,”You are a principal work,a fragment of God himself. You have in yourself a part of Him. Why then are you ignorant of your high birth?” (Epictetus). The Bible has a tremendous verse of encouragement for you in Genesis 1:31. “God saw all that He had made,and indeed it was very good.” When Jesus came,He treated people with respect,indeed treated people as friends. He said,”You are my friends,” and reminded everyone of how much He loved them. He even said these beautiful words in Luke 17:21: “The kingdom of God is within you.”
So the Bible affirms that we are created in the image and likeness of God. That should make us feel very proud. But there’s a problem. Often we don’t stop to appreciate that He loves us as we are,warts and all. Why do we reject our birthright as God’s children,moving through life feeling bad about ourselves,feeling inferior,and keeping hold of a bad self-image?
Perhaps much of this self-image problem occurs early in life. I read a newspaper columnist called Bob Greene,who in the 1980s wrote a series of articles and invited readers to write in. One day his column was entitled,”The Pain That Never Goes Away.” He criticised a card company for producing a card with the words “Most Unpopular Student Award”. It was probably meant as a joke,but for a 12-year-old boy in one school it was not funny. His classmates had written his name all over the card and left it on his desk.
The company said that it was a form of satire and “insult humour”. The boy’s teacher and school principal saw it differently. It had caused the student a lot of emotional damage. But what amazed Bob Greene more than that was the avalanche of mail from his readers who told their stories of similar childhood incidents where they were ridiculed and rejected – and still were troubled by a sense of low self-esteem. Some were older people. You see,it does matter what people say,even though we brush off many hurtful comments. But this is life,and that’s why it’s important to be sure of who you are. You are one of God’s children.
Steven Koski,a Uniting Church Minister,wrote an article called “The Loudest Voice” in the Encounter magazine about his first day in kindergarten. The teacher asked the new kids to form a circle and say their name and their favourite toy. The problem was Steven had a distinctive stutter,and the other children made fun of him. He was also overweight. The little boy on his left elbowed the little girl next to him and said,”He’s fat.” It was too much for this 5-year-old,who ran out of the room humiliated all the three kilometres back home to his mother. She scooped him up in her arms and asked what happened. Sobbing and stuttering,he said,”I’m fat,I stutter,I’m no good. No-one likes me.” You can imagine the scene. And this little boy’s mother said something that day that stayed with him: “It doesn’t matter what other people think,because the loudest voice you’re ever going to hear is your own voice.”
That’s a great lesson. God creates people with inherent value. No mistake,failure or hurtful comments by other people can take away or destroy that fact. We must hold onto it firmly,and not let other voices take over. You need to replace negative internal messages with positive,challenging ones that remind us of our place in God’s kingdom.
God is not like some cruel or neurotic parent who needs to put His children down. On the contrary,He delights in lifting us up,and helps us feel good about ourselves. Look up 1 John 3:1: “See how very much our Heavenly Father loves us,for He allows us to be called His children – think of it – and we really are.” (LB)
God knows all about us; what we have done in the past and what we will do in the future. The wonderful thing about God’s love is that it never stops. The voice inside us says,”You’re no good; you’re not worth it.” But God says,”I love you and you are precious to me.”