Altar Call – Opelika-Auburn News
April 10, 2016
Why you can give up despising yourself
One day a long time ago God decided to populate
the earth with human beings. The Bible, with beautiful imagery, explains this
creation so simply that children can understand it. Almighty God, after
creating order out of chaos, gathered up some dust from the ground and with his
hands formed a man. Then he breathed into the man’s nostrils and the man came
When the work of creation was done, God
looked at it and admired it. It said it was good. We are safe ground then to
conclude that a human being is a good thing and that life is a gift from our
Creator. The Bible goes on to teach us that God not only likes each of us, he
Yet many people despise themselves. The
truth be known, self-despising is
widespread. Repeatedly I encounter people who, in agonizing despair, complain
that they are worthless, having no value to anyone. Hope has vanished. Their
numbed by an awful sense of
My heart broke to hear my father, in his declining years, ask me many
times, “Why did God let me live so long?” I tried to assure him that he was
alive because God’s purpose for his life was not yet completed. I did my best
to encourage him to trust God to the end.
Reading the Genesis accounts of
creation is a great tonic for despairing souls. Here is the exciting news that
the living God created human beings for a divine purpose. Human beings have
value because they were created for
a reason – to know God, love God and serve God.
Believing this about the origin of man generates hope. Faith grows
in the fertile soil of such thinking. Embrace the teaching of Genesis about
creation and you safeguard your mind against the invasion of hopelessness. Without hope, it is
misery, not mercy that is fresh every morning. Without hope, nothing tastes good;
nothing stirs our passion to make the most of each new day.
Settle for a lesser worldview and you are vulnerable to cynicism.
The cynic buys the notion that man crawled out of a primordial swamp as a tiny
amoeba and in time became an ape, finally evolving into a man. For the writer
of Genesis, there is a nobler way to explain man’s family tree.
If we accept the idea that our ancestors were “swamp things,” then
it becomes difficult to hold a lofty view of the value of human life. We become
vulnerable to the belief that a human being has no more lasting significance
than a stray dog on the side of the road.
If, however, our ancestors were people who talked with God, like
Abraham and Moses, and Peter and Paul, then it is easier to believe that human
created in the image of
God for a special purpose, to fulfill a plan conceived in the heart of a loving
Does Genesis offer two accounts of creation? Yes. Are these
accounts conflicting? No. They complement each other, describing the creation
story from two different angles. In both accounts God is the Creator and the
creation of man is the peak of God’s
creative work. Human beings are made in
God’s image, thus demonstrating the value of human life.
Genesis begins with the assumption that God exists: “In the
beginning God”! Secularists insist that God is man’s idea. Genesis declares that
man is God’s idea! Man’s significance stems from having being made in the image of God. This makes humans
uniquely different from animals.
The primary difference is that human beings can have a dynamic
relationship with God. We can hear God, speak to God, love God, thank God, have communion
with God and serve God. Humans are capable of obeying God or disobeying God. Horses
and dogs cannot. Genesis helps us understand our uniqueness by underlining our
power to make decisions, especially decisions that can affect the quality of
our lives. Other “creatures” are not burdened by
the need to obey God’s commands.
Genesis pays tribute to man’s capacity for reason by explaining
that God asked man to name the animals and birds. The capacity to think can be used for good or ill. That we may choose to
enhance our relationship with God is an exhilarating thought! To ignore the
opportunity to develop a mature relationship with God is foolish misuse our
What Genesis says about us should inspire us. God created us. He
called us “good.” He gave us work to do. He expects us to obey Him. He desires
intimacy with us. We experience intimacy through loving obedience. We find
significance in living life God’s way. We see the ultimate proof of our value
to God in his willingness to let his Son die on the cross for our sins. He
loved us that much! So much that He wanted to give us new and richer “life” in
In the beginning God recognized man’s loneliness so He created a
woman. Herein we find the biblical foundation for the institution of marriage.
The concept of marriage was God’s idea, not an institution designed by man. In every
age rebellious people weaken the moral fiber of society by undermining the
sacred nature of marriage. But we need not fret. Culture changes; God’s eternal
Word is unchanging. His ways will survive the onslaught of evil.
What a high privilege – to cherish and use wisely the
gift of life! Hopelessness cannot exist in the heart of one who believes he has
value because God made him. Self-despising
gives way to praising God. Negative thinking is overwhelmed by the soul’s
explosion of gratitude for the goodness of the loving God who gives us life! +