We all like to be admired. We love it when people say nice things about us. We preen when they praise us; we glow when they adore us; we bask in their adoration. This is understandable because, let’s admit it, who doesn’t want to be admired and appreciated? However, this is dangerous because people are fickle. They will applaud us one day, boo us the next. They will shower us with praise one moment, spit on our faces the next. See what they did to Jesus. On Sunday, they shouted “Halleluia”; on Friday, they screamed, “Crucify Him!”
This is not because people are evil; they are just not adequately grounded and, therefore, easily swayed like a thin branch in the wind by whatever blows their way. Consequently, when their opinion of us changes, it can be devastating, especially if we have become addicted to their praise. We can be as dependant on positive strokes as a junkie is on his drug.
This doesn’t mean we should shun affirmation and encouragement. We need these from time to time. However, we should be careful to ensure that our self-worth is not determined by how people treat us, think about us, and talk about us, because the moment this changes to something negative, we will feel devalued.
We need to get our value from God. He created us. He knows what we are worth. “I have created you in my image and likeness,” he says. You are fearfully and wonderfully made. I knit you together in your mother’s womb. She might forget you, but I never will. See, I have carved on the palm of my hand.”
And when we goof up, he doesn’t throw us under the bus but reassures us. “You believe in my Son, Jesus. You’re safe because there is no condemnation for those who are in him. Don’t forget that it was Jesus who started a good work in you; he will finish what he started. You quit worrying. Nothing and no one can separate you from my love for you.”
God is not fickle. When he says he will never leave us or forsake us, he means it. When people say they will stay by our side forever, they might mean it at the time, but let us not be surprised when they disappear when you need them the most. The apostles ran like rats when Jesus was arrested!
So, put your trust in God. Get your sense of worth from what he says. When people around you praise you and honor you, thank them graciously, but let their words run off you like water off a duck’s back. You don’t need to be validated by them. But, when God tells you that you are a good person, take it to heart. Because he means it, and it is true and unchanging.
You ARE wonderful.
[see Psalm 139:14, Genesis 1:27, Isaiah 49:15-16, Romans 8:1, John 1:12, Romans 8:1, Philippians 1:6, Romans 8:37-39, Deuteronomy 3:6].