News from the Tennessee Valley Religion

Rev. Bobby Newman

All search for significance, struggle with self-esteem

Someone once quipped that the person who ministers to the issue of self esteem only addresses a need that doesn’t exist.

How far from the truth that is. All of us have a need to be affirmed and valued. As we go through stages of life we find ourselves searching for significance and struggling with what we call self-esteem.

One very significant time in life is when we move from home to school and encounter the social interaction that takes place there.

At home we are mostly affirmed. Often a child’s self-esteem is built up as he is told how treasured or wonderful he or she is. Then all at once a child enters a world of competition and evaluation.

Dr. Paul Conn points out that at this time many parents have a tendency to exaggerate a child’s good qualities while ignoring the less desirable ones.

The result may be that he or she develops an unrealistic view of life. Basically, a child may realize that he or she is not the best reader or the most intelligent or the most beautiful.

Much of self-esteem in this stage of life and later will be attached to a level of performance or skill.

Every person needs to grow up and feel the sense of “I can make a contribution.” This is what parents need to encourage because this is achievable.

But being “the best” is not as important as being “our best,” as Kathy Rigby’s mother told her when she placed second in the Olympic ice skating competition.

Beyond this we must say that human value comes from what we are rather than from what we do. The Bible teaches that people have inherent value regardless of how they perform.

God values a hospital patient the same way he does a prison inmate or the president of the United States. In the words of Steven Waterhouse, “To God no person is just a faceless statistic ... To God people are not throwaway circuit boards who get tossed out when they cannot keep up with the workload.”

In the Bible we read that people are made in the image of God and that God has a personal concern for us throughout life.

The death of Jesus Christ on the cross proves that all people have worth.

For that reason we should see our value in how God views us and by what he has done for us.

The Rev. Bobby Newman, pastor of Oak Park Church of God, is one of several local ministers writing religion columns for The Daily. For more information, call Melanie Smith at 340-2468.

Rev. Bobby Newman Rev. Bobby Newman

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