Wednesday, December 26, 2012

It’s Not Easy...

 In a Muppet movie, Kermit the Frog is singing while sitting on a Lilly pad. The title of the song was “Its Not Easy Being Green.” In the song he describes how life can be tough for a small green frog. That song  applies to most of us at various times in our lives.    We only  need to change the last word of the title to, “It’s Not Easy Being Me.”

Most of us have experienced the stress of not being accepted by others.  We have experienced the pain of rejection and of being unfairly judged. The teenage years for many are characterized by wide swings of emotions. We find it much easier to remember the stress we experienced rather than the stress we caused others. Many of our bad experiences can toss us about in life and batter our self-image. Webster’s NewWorld Dictionary defines self-image as “an individual’s conception of himself and his own identity, abilities, worth, etc.”  In trying to deal with a bad self-image, some people promote the concept of positive self-esteem.  They believe that if I tell myself that I am wonderful, then I will feel better about myself and the world.  However, this is not tied to truth. If someone honestly looks in a mirror, they cannot say “I am wonderful.”  Those words go against an awareness  in our own conscience that we are not wonderful. Those words are also contracted by the sin in our lives.

Some people try to try to feel better about themselves by putting others down. This is seen in kids calling each other bad names or calling attention to some physical deficiencies. In our American culture this can be seen in racist attitudes which degrade people because of the color of their skin. Where then should we get our self-image, our self-esteem? Where should we get our value?

Everyone has value, self-worth, because God loves us and because we are made in the image of  God.

God’s love is expressed in John 3:16 (KJV) “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”  Our value  comes from God’s  infinite love which He showed by sending His Son to die on the cross for our sins. We do not deserve God’s  love. “God does not love that which is already in itself worthy of love, but on the contrary, that which in itself has no worth acquires worth just by becoming the object of God's love. [Nygren, "Agape and Eros," 78]” While no one can merit God’s love, it is experienced by who “believeth in him.”

Our value also comes from being made in God’s image. Genesis 1:27 (KJV) “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.”
God is different from man in that since He is spirit (John 4:24), He has no physical image. God is everywhere present; we are in only one place at one time (Eph 4:6). Three common points are that as He has intellect, will, and emotions, He has given them to us (Gen 1:26-28; 2:7,16-18) The image of God consists of these common attributes.

Some implications of  realizing our value is ultimately from God include: 1.All people are important to God. (No individual or group is more important than any other). 2. We should respect all people because they all have worth.  People have incredible  worth not because of what they  do, but because of Whom they belong to.