Tag Archives: self-esteem

A Small Observation

A version of this story can be found in my book, Life Lessons from the School Bus.

Politically Incorrect

OK, I will admit it, once you read what this is all about you will tell me that I am being politically incorrect, insensitive, or mean-spirited. You will say that the title of this post is inappropriate and beneath me (well, the beneath part is right). You may tell me that I should not make fun of those who are “vertically challenged.”

If you say these things because you think I am making fun of short, small, or otherwise non-tall people, then think again. I am only being humorous at their expense to make a point. Actually, it won’t be at their expense for long. I am going to pay the bill.

Children Can be Cruel

You know it’s true – children can be cruel, especially around people who are “different.” When driving around a bus load of elementary children, one can hear a lot of cruel comments come from their little, angelic, crumb-crunching mouths.

photo 2 (2)Little girls, as well as little boys, can get downright mean with the things that they say. However, they have no idea of the lasting consequences of their teasing. They have yet to sit through months or years of counseling.

Because kids can be cruel, even when they don’t mean to be, I try to steer them (literally) away from opportunity. But on one occasion, even though I did the best I could, the kids jumped at the chance to gawk and laugh. I will never forget what I saw.

Choosing Not to Hear

One day I was driving my school bus down a two-lane road when just ahead of me I spotted a dwarf…a short guy…a midget…walking by the curb. Immediately, I knew what was about to happen.

Right ahead of where this guy was walking was a place I had to make a stop. Sadly, I could not just speed on by, but had to slow down. When the first child saw this little man it didn’t take long for the 20+ others to shift over to that side of the bus to take a look. In an instant there was laughter.

But in all honesty, the laughter was not all that loud. My kids are aware that stuff like that makes me angry, so they try not to get caught. So, only if one had been really listening or paying attention could that person have heard the giggles and jokes. The little man on the road didn’t want to take any chances.

As soon as I started to pass by this 3ft-tall little bald guy with biker tattoos (wearing a tank top and little jeans), he did something that really broke my heart -he put his finger in his ear. He knew what was coming, and he didn’t want to hear.

That simple action said a whole lot. 

  • He had heard cruel laughter before
  • He expected to hear it again
  • He knew what kinds of things would be said
  • He did not have the will, nor the ability to defend himself
  • He decided to not listen, but to close his ears

Sadly, many are convinced what other people say about them is true.

The jeers and the laughter not only offend, but they cut deeply, causing irreparable scarring and pain. How many have given up? How many have quit defending themselves?

One of the characteristics of a true Christian should be that he defends the defenseless, the ones who can not speak up for themselves. Psalm 82:3 says that we should “defend the poor and fatherless: do justice to the afflicted and needy.” Couldn’t this also apply to standing up for those who are made fun of or mocked unjustly?

Consider the words of Jesus: “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself” (Mark 12:31). What kind of person would want to be laughed at because of something he/she could not help?

Be Considerate

The next time you are tempted, consider what you are doing. The next time you are around someone, even a child, who makes fun of another person, stop and take the time to “defend” and “do justice.”

Don’t walk around with a finger in your ear.

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Filed under Christian Maturity, Do not judge, General Observations, self-worth

What’s Your Life Worth?

Someone needs to read this. Is it YOU?

A Serious Question

What would you die for? What is so valuable that you would risk or even sacrifice your own life? Have you ever stopped to think about that? You should.

The typical things in life that are considered so valuable, when put in perspective, aren’t really worth that much. Even the most “priceless” treasures are not worth your life – or are they? Would you fight a thief for your purse or car? Then you are saying those things are more valuable than your life, for you are willing to risk your life to keep them. It is how people die every day in the pursuit of, and the keeping of earthly possessions. Foolish, frankly.

Even more than concrete items, some value their pride more than life. They are willing to fight to the death, or kill others when insulted or “dissed.” Perception is NOT reality, just as integrity is not determined by opinion; yet, some would rather risk death than be thought of wrongly. So many have yet to learn that what people think of them does not determine the reality of who they are.

From the perspective of family, I would say that most believe life is worth risking life. If my loved ones were in danger, then it would be natural to put my life on the line. Really, there is no argument against this one. But on the other hand, society is very fickled when it comes to how it determines the value of one life; one life is not always as valuable as another, especially when convenience or personal pleasure is at stake.

I would die for my children, but many kill their own children before birth.  It seems to me that values gold more consistently than life itself.

What about beliefs? Are you willing to die for what you believe? Now this, I know, could open up a whole can of worms; but that’s ok. Just stop and think about it for a moment. Do you believe in anything so much that it is worth more than your own life? When your life is on the line, knowing the difference between what you believe and what is only opinion is of key importance.

A martyr is one who will die for what they believe, rather than deny it.  Is your faith worth dying for?  If not, then how much do you really believe?

A Priceless Exchange

But here’s one more question…How much is YOUR life worth?

Value is determined by what someone is willing to give for it, correct? That’s typically the way it goes. So, if nothing on earth is more valuable than your life, does that make your life valuable? Well, maybe to you. Think about it, to someone else your life might not be as valuable as their own.

Would you value the life of a total stranger so much that you would offer your own in exchange? I mean, really? Someone may even be willing to give all of the world’s riches in order to obtain your life, but are you worth it? Who would even have that kind of wealth? That leaves you with nothing more than your sense of value compared to another’s. Your worth against theirs.

Value is relative to the thing for which the buyer will exchange.  That’s a disturbing thought, isn’t it?

On the other hand, what if the Creator of the universe offered to die for you?

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. – Rom 5:8 NIV

That would make you of incalculable worth! The King of Heaven, the Son of God, gave His own life in exchange for yours, even accepting your guilts and failures as His own, and paying the death penalty for sin on your behalf.

For he hath made him [to be] sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. – 2 Corinthians 5:21 KJV

That makes Jesus incredibly unique! How many others have done what He has for you? Most of us would die for our children or spouse.  Some of us would die for a friend or maybe a good person.  But how many of us would give our own life to purchase the life of a stranger, much less a convict, drug dealer, murderer, etc?  Jesus did.

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. – Rom 5:6-8 NIV

What is your life worth?  Well, it was worth the Messiah suffering the most excruciating death Rome could conceive.  It was worth the Prince of Peace being shredded by a “cat of nine tails.” It was worth God becoming flesh so that we could know Him.  If you are worth that much, and if that kind of price was paid, don’t you think giving your life to Jesus is a fair exchange?

If you would like to know more about Jesus, and how he loves you and died for you, then call this number, 1-800-NEED-HIM. Or, if you would like to talk with me, just send me an email.

Your life is worth it.

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Filed under Christian Living, General Observations, salvation, self-worth, World View

Self-Esteem and Enduring the Race

Self-Esteem

How we see ourselves is critical to endurance, isn’t it?

Myself, well, I battle with self-esteem ALL the time. Does that come as a shock to you? It shouldn’t. I’m only human. You see, it’s difficult to view myself as successful, much less a “godly” pastor when standing in the light of men whose congregations run in the hundreds, if not thousands, whose ministries see scores of people regularly coming to Christ, and whose lives are more like Billy Graham while mine often crumbles like a graham cracker.

Like Moses as he stood before the burning bush in Exodus 3:11, I often ask, “Who am I, God?” Compared to those men with huge ministries, those phenomenal leaders who grace our Christian bookstore shelves, or even the pastor down the road with cooler clothes, I seem small, ineffective, impotent, and of little worth.

However, if I would stop standing in the shadow of other men, and stand in the light of Jesus, things would be MUCH different!

Gracious Light

Sure, I am small and weak in the light of His glory, but in my weakness I am made strong, not patronized. When I stand in His light my frailties, my sin, my worries, my brokenness are made painfully evident…but so is HIS GRACE!

When I compare myself to other people, all I see failure. But, when I compare myself to Jesus Christ, I can recognize my utter inabilities and at the same time find in Him the strength and grace to be all HE wants me to be! I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!

As we follow Jesus Christ we are promised to be conformed to His likeness, not men. Should we conform to the likeness of others we view as more successful than ourselves, then we will truly fail.

Endurance is available for those who run their own race, not the race of others. 

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Filed under Christian Living, Depression, self-worth

Because of Who Made Me

Good Monday afternoon to those of you here on the east coast of the U.S. I hope you are enjoying the weather wherever you are, though.

I am writing a quick post before I head off to drive my afternoon routes on the school bus (I wrote a book about that – hint hint).

Value. What makes you valuable? What makes your life worth living? 

There is a teenage boy one of my daughters has been talking to. All he seems to want to discuss is how worthless he is because a couple of other girls don’t “love” him. Ever known a teenager like that? I might have even been one…ewww.

Here’s the thing, though: being loved doesn’t make you more or less valuable.

Now, I know that there are some of you who would say, “Anthony! You’re wrong! What makes us valuable IS the fact that we are loved – at least by God.” Well, I know that being loved by God is supremely important, but is that the sole reason for our worth?

The Price paid? Does the price paid for us – I’m talking the Cross of Calvary, here – determine our value? I used to think that way. It is certainly one of the things that determines value. For example, a piece of paper with a few scratches of ink on it could be worth millions, simply because someone is willing to pay that amount for it.

But let me tell you what I have been pondering. Do you remember the old illustration that tells of a beat-up, dusty violin that nobody wanted to buy, that is, until the Master picked up, tuned it, and began to play? It was/is a great illustration of how God can take what seems worthless and use it to make something beautiful, thereby increasing its value.

But here’s the thing: if that old violin had the name of Stradivarius written on the inside, it wouldn’t have mattered what it looked or sounded like; it would have been worth a fortune.

Simply put, we are valuable, not because we are loved, but because of Who made us. Our value is increased even more because of what’s been paid to redeem us.

Now, if one does not believe in the Maker, then one’s perception of value can only be understood as completely arbitrary. At that point the teenager’s value is truly reduced to his worth in the finicky eyes of other individuals. Where am I wrong on this?

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Filed under Abortion, Culture Wars, Depression, Love of God, self-worth