Tears stream down his fragile face as he cowers in the corner struggling not to hear the merciless taunts and torments. Shunned by society, shamed by family she seeks approval in the arms of a man, a different one each night. He stands upon the bridge riddled with despair and despondency prepared to jump into the icy waters below. She stares out the window her aged reflection staring back another holiday as usual celebrated all alone. Together their voices echo to the heavens, “What is my worth to others, if I find no worth in myself?”
According to the U.S. Census Bureau Population Clock, current world population is exceeding 6,605,362,265 individuals and counting more with every passing moment. We live in a crowded world, getting more and more crowded. Every day our lives will intersect and interact with the lives of others. Our lives impacted by the promises, praise and the perceptions of others. Values, Society and the Future author Robert Schmidt states, “As people move from one place to another, as dislocations caused by war and economic pressures occur, people often feel torn from their support systems and lose their sense of dignity and worth (pg.14).” The dictionary defines dignity as “the quality or state of being worthy, honored, or esteemed” and worth as “the quality that renders something desirable, useful, or valuable.” I define dignity and worth simply as the perception we desire for society to have of us and the reality of how we truly view ourselves. We challenge our worth with unattainable standards placed upon us by ourselves and our superiors, devastated by our perceived limitations and lack of effort. We pursue approval and appreciation from society and strangers, plagued by our perceived desperation for acceptance. We listen to the qualms and questions of society, embattled with our perceived worthless as individual. My belief in the worth and dignity of others is far more than how I behave but about the same qualities existing in others. Psychology emphasizes individualism, independence and the importance of self reliability. Whereas society emphasizes the individual’s ability to influence and control, selfishness, satisfaction and approval from others. Christianity emphasizes self-control, dependence on God and the importance of approval from Him alone. We are bombarded with mixed messages and double standards so much our view left torn and tattered. Our lives are entangled with doubt, fear and despair everyday just another unseemly struggle, with no hope and no future to be found. Perhaps it’s in my own despondency and worthlessness I continually search seeking the answers for myself and others.
Schmidt suggests a solution, “A value system is needed that provides dignity and human worth to people in transition (pg.14).” I questioned why just for individuals in transition why not for every struggling individual not just those lacking a support system. He continues with, “Were such values available and capable of being assimilated by people, there would be far fewer with people feeling bad about themselves because of guilt and inferiority. With such a value system, people can find more meaning in life.” Society encourages individuals to continually apply positive self reinforcements, to immerse themselves in daily life and activities that create pleasure and happiness. The individuals surround themselves with addiction, abuse, escapism and consumerism. We indulge in the best of what life has to offer, often escaping our pain and our perceptions with drugs, alcohol, excessive spending and escapism through video games, gambling and other recreational activities. Instead of finding pleasure and fulfillment we find ourselves divulged of emotion, tormented with depression and edging toward ending our lives. We’re overwhelmed, afraid and unable to deal with the struggle of daily life. We seek pleasure only to find pain; we seek approval only to find disappointment. Our lives are intertwined, controlled by the actions of others and ourselves. John F. Kennedy once said, “Change is the law of life, and those who look to the past and present are certain to miss the future.” Change is finding the strength to look forward instead of looking back. Change is setting aside our feelings of worthless and our need for approval. Change is looking upward toward heaven instead of downward toward hell. Change is accepting our faults and our failures just as Christ as accepted us. Matthew 10: 29-31 states, “Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And [yet] not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. "But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Therefore do not fear; you are of more value than many sparrows.” God places his emphasis on the individual, not on their fears, faults or failures. He chooses to love unconditionally regardless of the conditions we consign for us to love others. He looks intently to our hearts and we look intently our mistakes. He exhibits his grace despite ourselves and we refuse his grace in spite of ourselves. He freely offered His Son and we freely reject His Son. With every rejection, denial and dismissal he refuses to accept our answers, he decides we just need some more time. Christ is truly the only answer I’ve ever found. He’s validates my worth and dignity with his grace and my forgiveness. He’s trudged the depths of my heart and loves me despite my failures and my faults. I believe He’s the answer so many others need to truly find as well.
Schmidt writes, “In the past, religious values have fulfilled this function and did so within the context of settled societies. However in a world of transition….a value system is needed that can transcend communities and be accessible to people on the move.” He suggests a value system that changes with society but why not look to the unchanging source of values, Jesus Christ. Hebrews 13:8 states, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” His character is unchanging, his love is unconditionally and his grace is freely given. Why not run to him with open arms and an open heart. Where individuals once found rejection, now find acceptance, whereas individuals once found uncertainty now find dignity and whereas individuals found worthless now found worth. Through Christ we discover we are no longer just another face in the crowd but we are a face in His crowd.
Tears stream down his fragile face as he pray in the corner for those bellowing merciless taunts and torments at him. Shunned by society, shamed by family she seeks approval in the arms of Christ. He stands upon the bridge overwhelmed by his newfound peacefulness and joy, his smile shimmering into the icy waters below. She stares out the window her aged reflection staring back another holiday His promise, she was never truly alone. Together their voices echo to the heavens, “Christ revealed my worth in His death on Calvary’s Cross and now I will reveal His worth to others.”