Tuesday, July 25, 2006

WordPoints - July 25, 2006

Solid Self-Respect
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
2 Timothy 4:7

Few things are given any more attention in our culture than the question of "self-image." We use a variety of terms to discuss it -- self-esteem, self-worth, self-respect, etc. -- but our basic point is usually the same: a person ought to be able to view himself or herself in a positive way. We believe this to be very important, and in fact it is very important. But at this point our thinking often jumps the track, with unfortunate results. Significant corrections that need to be made in our lives don't get made.

The truth that we ought to help every human being hold on to is that no matter who we are, we are each of great and equal inherent worth as creatures of God. Our external circumstances may be horribly demeaning, and our own conduct may have been seriously dysfunctional. But even so, we are still the creatures of a God who has conferred great worth upon us by making us in His image. And no matter how we've marred His making of us, we are still of such value to God that He was willing to sacrifice His Son to redeem us. That's the truth of the gospel, and we should spare no effort to help others be uplifted by its hope.

But despite our equal inherent value as God's creatures, it is also true that people differ widely in the value of their chosen character and conduct. Much of our "self-esteem" talk seems to imply that no matter how irresponsible one's actions, he should still see himself as positively as anyone else. We often sound as if we believed that behavior has nothing to do with self-respect. But in truth, it has a great deal to do with it. A postive self-image doesn't come from being stroked by the "affirmations" of others, or even from talking postively to ourselves. It comes from doing our duty.

But what if we have to admit that we've not done our duty? Is it impossible for us ever again to enjoy this solid kind of self-respect? No, it's not impossible. We can at any moment begin to be the person we always should have been. We can -- starting right now -- choose to deal with reality in an honorable way.

[Self-respect] comes to us when we are alone, in quiet moments,
in quiet places, when we suddenly realize that, knowing the good,
we have done it; knowing the beautiful, we have served it;
knowing the truth, we have spoken it.
Whitney Griswold
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Copyright © 2006 by Gary Henry - Visit the WordPoints web site: www.wordpoints.com

3 comments:

Badoozie said...

i think people get this all confused. and if someone is self assured, or self confident, they are construed as arrogant. it's a fine line.

for example: if a woman is happy with her appearance, and pleased with herself, thus conducting herself in a self assured manner, how do we view her? we view her as stuck up. or stuck on herself.

but really, why would we do that? it's the minority of women who are pleased with their appearance and it should be the exact opposite. because however we look, God loves us just the same. so whats wrong with being satisfied, or happy with ourselves and how we look? we need to think about that the next time we either degrade our appearance, or put down a woman who is happy and self assured.

Anne said...

Absolutely.

EmmaSometimes said...

Anne,

Okay, here we go.

With due respect to Mr. Henry I am commenting....

Our self-esteem as God fearing Christians is obviously different from what the world views as self-respect / self-worth. When I hear of other Christians (including myself) speaking of value, it's our drive to see our own worth through God's eyes. Sometimes this overwhelming revelation comes at my darkest times in my life, when I turn to God when I have mucked things up for myself and feel the most unworthy of His love.

People who do not believe in God or Jesus death on the cross will obviously struggle with wrong pride/self-esteem/self-image because their focus in life is completely skewed. They center on themselves. (remember 'I' is the center of S.I.N...hehe)

Mr. Henry is also speaking of 'duty' to finding our actual self image. I don't quite understand what the duty would be. Does this mean the only key to finding what our actual value is in Christ is by obedience to His will? Is it the obedience he is speaking of as our duty?

Im a bit confused by this but it's not so hard to do.