They arrived on the other side of the sea in the country of the Gerasenes. As Jesus got out of the boat, a madman from the cemetery came up to him. He lived there among the tombs and graves. No one could restrain him—he couldn’t be chained, couldn’t be tied down. He had been tied up many times with chains and ropes, but he broke the chains, snapped the ropes. No one was strong enough to tame him. Night and day, he roamed through the graves and the hills, screaming out and slashing himself with sharp stones.
Mark 5:1-5, The Message
“Keep coming back. It works if you work it and you are worth it.”
This is a refrain that is very popular in recovery fellowships like Alcoholics Anonymous and others. But are you worth it? I know this may be a ridiculous question for some because for them the resounding answer is “yes I am worth it!” But for some of us, as much as we would like to believe this, our actions don’t follow this belief. Like the demon possessed man in the passage above, our choices have so hurt ourselves and others that we lose our sense of humanity. People’s actions to protect themselves from our actions result in a personal loss of value. We see ourselves in the same way that we are viewed by those around us. How could the crowd be wrong? If they say I am worthless and irredeemable, I must be.
But like He had for this man, Jesus has a tremendous amount of compassion for us. He sees past the mistakes and brokenness. He envisages his beautiful creation. His Word uses descriptors like “holy”, “fearfully and wonderfully made”, “treasured possession”, “workmanship”, and “saints” among others to describe who we are in Him.
I know someone whose personal struggle with his skin color and the words that were used to describe him as a youth stuck. It took a concerted effort of discovering God’s descriptors for who he was to set him free from the bondage of shame and self-loathing. It took the validation and love of people who had overcome similar struggles and loving counselors for him to discover how worth it he was!
Are you at a place where you don’t think you are worthwhile? A Christ centered view of who you are is a great place to start. If your self-view is harsh, then you will be particularly unable to forgive yourself. When you are harsh with yourself, you will be harsh with others. Getting this concept of value right is therefore very important. If this is a place where you are, do what countless others have done. Confess it to people who love and support you. If you can’t find people like this around you, find a supportive counselor or coach. Give them the opportunity to have Christ bless you through their loving understanding, empathy, and acceptance.