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HEAL YOUR WOUNDED HEART (III) - 'LOW SELF-ESTEEM'

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작성자 최고관리자 작성일15-11-27 16:44 조회801회 댓글0건

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 <1 Samuel 18: 6-16>

 

 As I get older, I find myself enjoying paintings.  I have a special appreciation for Oriental art.  Of course, I have little drawing skills; yet, I find myself enjoying good paintings.  Some time ago, I read a book by a famous Korean art critic, Hongjoon Yoon, titled The Biographies of Great Artists in Chosun Dynasty.  I particularly remember one artist from that book.  His name was Book Choi (1712-1786) from the Chosun Dynasty. 

 

 

  Book Choi, also known as Chilchil Choi, was a very eccentric individual.  So peculiar was his personality that one day, he refused a request by an aristocrat for a portrait.  This aristocrat, under the pretext of his societal authority, threatened Choi.  An enraged Choi, out of uncontrollable rage, stabbed his own eye with a pick and became blind in one eye.  He became a bespectacled one-eyed painter for the rest of his life.  These anecdotes attributed the nickname of “Korean Van Gogh” to Choi, after the artist who cut his own ear.  Choi was also famous for refusing to paint unless people acknowledged him as the premier artist in Chosun.  He also frequently clashed with people around him.  There are many stories that illustrate the volatile and mercurial personality of Book Choi.

 

 

Yoon, the author of the aforementioned book, attributed inferiority complex stemming from his common background as the reason for the difficulties Choi had in maintaining interpersonal relationships despite his celebrity status.  Choi was a commoner born into lower-middle class, not into aristocracy, or yangban status; he tried to alleviate his low self-esteem for his background through painting, and used eccentricity as an outlet to vent his frustrations at the distinctively stratified society that precluded social mobility.  Despite his genius for painting, he could not view the world with optimism.  His complex governed his every action, which caused constant clash and conflict with his neighbors and resulted in an unhappy, sometimes miserable, life.

        

 

 A Gallup Poll posed the question “Are you satisfied with your appearance?” to a number of people.  Only 28% of men and 13% of women affirmed that they were satisfied with their appearance.  More astonishingly, 94% of the men and 99% of the women responded that they would change their appearance if they could.  These result point to the fact that majority of the people are not satisfied with their appearance and existence.  Maxwell Maltz thus argued that over 95% of the people in this world are living with some sort of inferiority complex.

         

 

 Today, as the third topic of Lent, we will think about low self-esteem, or inferiority complex.  We will search for the cause of inferiority complex and look at how people try to cope or address resultant low self-esteem.  Among the numerous characters of the Bible, we can pick King Saul as the man who was ruined by inferiority complex.  In determining why King Saul had a low self-esteem, we will discern ways to overcome this damaging condition. 




1.  Inferiority complex arises from comparison.  We can evade inferiority complex by not comparing ourselves to others.  Yet, it is nearly impossible not to compare in this world.  Today’s scholastic structure is overly competitive, teaching young kindergartners to compare themselves to their classmates.  Today’s education system teaches our students to constantly compare themselves to others and strive to be better than others, to achieve a higher order of merit or be included in the higher percentile, in the society in order to succeed.  When discovering that their appearance, skills, familial background, and academic credentials fall short of those of others, people tend to feel inferior.

           

 

 When I was going through grade school in Korea, I had to take several surveys on my parent’s academic background.  It was not some surreptitious research; rather, my teachers would ask the students who had college-graduate parents to raise their hand.  The questions would work its way down to, “raise your hand if your parents had no formal schooling.”  On the days of these surveys, students with educated parents had something to be proud about.  For someone like me, whose parents were relatively uneducated, these days would be painful, emotionally scarring days.

 

 

All misery starts with comparison.  Comparison is the seed of low self-esteem.  People feel unnecessarily arrogant and unreasonably inferior due to the act of comparing.  When we see that someone may be inferior to us, we feel superior.  When we see that someone is better than we are, we feel inferior.  Inferiority and superiority complex stem from the same root.  All this sprouts out of unhealthy hearts and minds.  As long as we compare ourselves to others, we can never be happy and content.  We cannot find true freedom in our hearts.  As the old Korean proverb denotes, there is always someone better than we are that above those who crawl, there are those who walk; and above those who run, there are those who fly.

 

 

Take a look at Saul from today’s scripture.  Why does he feel enmity towards David and attempt to kill him every chance he gets?  In comparing himself to David, Saul felt a degree of inferiority.  David slew Goliath of Philistine, and Israel went on to defeat Philistine in war.  All was well until David’s triumphant return amid singing of victory songs. 

 

 

When King Saul and his entourage returned to Israel, all the women were out of the cities, singing and dancing with tambourines and musical instruments to welcome Saul.  Yet the verses of the song sounded peculiar to Saul.  “Saul has slain his thousands, and David has slain his ten thousands.”  While Saul faced thousands of enemy soldiers, David fought with and killed tens of thousands.  The song praised David over Saul.  David became a bigger hero than the Saul, the King of Israel.  Many people will probably feel humiliation in Saul’s place.

 

 

Saul’s problem was that from that point forward, he compared himself to David at every turn and began suffering clinical inferiority complex.  The blow to his pride was not ephemeral; rather, inferiority complex completely engulfed Saul’s heart.  As the King of Israel, Saul possessed all the requisite tools to be a benevolent ruler; yet, he began losing his confidence.  According to 1 Samuel 9: 2, Saul was exceedingly handsome and debonair, with no one to match his good looks among all the sons of Israel; furthermore, he stood at least a head taller than all the people of Israel.  Saul was not inferior to David in any way.  But after he began comparing himself to David, Saul’s life took a turn for the worse.  He did not view issues in their entirety; rather, he distorted and confused parts of the issue, gaining a false sense of the true crux of these issues.  His analysis was clouded and he began making bad decisions.  The inferiority complex that arose out of comparison eventually would lead to tragedies for Saul and his family.

 

 

Do not compare yourselves to others.  You are unique among all the beings of this universe.  Take pride in the fact that no one is like you among the 6.2 billion people of this world.  Your appearance, manner of speaking, and personality were all uniquely created by God.  You are God’s work or art, not His product.  Products are mass produced, according to demand and popularity; work of art is a result of the creator’s artistic ability and creativity, whose value depend on scarcity.  It is stated in Ephesians 2: 10.  “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”  We are His workmanship.  We are His unique works of art, with each one of us being invaluable to Him.  Each one of us is so precious and valuable that He sent Jesus to us and purchased us through the price of Christ’s blood!

 

 

Genesis 1: 27 states that God created man in His image (Imago Dei).  God’s holy image resides within each one of us today.  If we harbor dissatisfaction with our appearance or character and have some sort of inferiority complex, then that is a direct affront to God and expression of our dissatisfaction with Him.  Think about it.  God’s image is within us, yet we harbor inferiority complex isn’t that as same as being embarrassed of God that is within us?  From this point forward, do not compare yourselves with others and do not feel inferior or superior to others.  We are all God’s unique works of art.



2. Inferiority complex afflicts those who are captured by the evil spirits.  Therefore, those who are full of Holy Spirit can overcome low self-esteem.  Take a look at verse 10 of today’s scripture.  The distressing spirit from God came upon Saul.  Hatred flared up in Saul’s heart, and he threw two spears at David to kill him.  Whenever the distressing spirit came upon Saul, inferiority complex mushroomed in his heart.  And he tried to kill David every time.  When I perused 1 Samuel, the distressing spirit came upon Saul six times (16: 14, 16: 15, 16: 16, 16: 23, 18: 10, 19: 9).  When the distressing spirit captured him, inferiority complex, jealousy, and rage engulfed his heart.

 

 

A year or two ago, an unspeakable murder took place in Korea.  A college student named Eunsuk Lee killed his parents, cut their bodies to pieces in the bathtub, and threw the parts, in a plastic bag, inside a trash can.  The responsibility for this murder, as it was discovered later, rested with the student’s father.  His father was a ROK Marine.  Being a former Marine, he ruled his son with an iron fist.  He verbally and physically abused his son, treated him with disdain, and even kicked him out of house at times.  The son, after years of abuse, eventually became a monster.  One night, while his parents were asleep, he bludgeoned his mother on the head with a hammer and killed his father.  He diced their bodies.  This father treated his only son, someone who should have been most precious to him, like a monster.  The son, perhaps possessed by a demon, became a monster and committed this atrocity.

 

 

We live in the midst of a spiritual war.  We need to hold onto God’s spirits.  We should never become complacent.  We must be vigilant against the evil spirits and ward them off through constant prayer.  We need to make our hearts succumb to and be ruled by the Holy Spirit.  We need to be filled with Holy Spirit in order to evade inferiority complex.  We need to be positive and optimistic in the midst of the Holy Spirit.  I hope that all of us can be full of Holy Spirit and lead our lives with optimism and positive self-esteem.



3.  Low self-esteem and inferiority complex are results of fear.  Therefore, they dissipate when our fear of present and future disappears.  Saul becomes a prisoner of his fears after developing a strange inferiority complex against David.  He had no fears when he did not harbor an inferiority complex.  He did not fear the Philistines when they attacked Israel.  Yet, after he developed his inferiority complex, he became a prisoner of his fears.

 

 

Take a look at verses 8 and 9 of today’s scripture.  It shows the extremely disparate thoughts that Saul had in his mind.  “‘They have ascribed to David ten thousands, and to me they have ascribed but thousands.  Now what more can he have but the kingdom?’  So Saul eyed David from that day forward.”  This clearly shows the inferiority complex that Saul felt against David and vividly illustrates Saul’s pessimistic and extreme point of view regarding all matters at hand.  Even though David himself had no such thoughts, Saul presumes that David is after his throne.  In fact, Saul could have thought the following with regards to David.  “Since I have such a brave warrior, I need not worry about the future wars of this nation.”  But Saul had a contorted and pessimistic view of the situation.  He felt a sense of uncertainty and a lack of confidence after comparing himself to David.  He became overly sensitive to issues that warranted no such attention, and he ends up overreacting to his false presumptions.  He did not look at the whole picture; rather, he had blinders on, distorting facts and arriving at false conclusions.  Coupled with his anxiety and fear, Saul’s inferiority complex blossomed into a disease of his mind.

 

 

When dogs bark at strangers, it is out of fear.  Dogs do not bark at people they recognize.   Why do people fall into spousal obsession, or extreme jealousy?  Because they have fear, not confidence, in their hearts.   Because of fear, they are easily hurt by meaningless words and glances.  They think that whenever other people hold conversation without them, they are being berated and ridiculed.  They become paranoid about what other people are talking about.  We need to drive this damaging fear out of hearts, most of all.  When fear is eliminated, inferiority complex and paranoia disappears.

 

 

We are children of God, created in His image.  No one is above us and no one lies below us.  We are all equal in the eyes of God.  In our natural state, we are all same beings.  No physical feature distinguishes a President of a nation from a beggar.  When new recruits into the military have their heads shaved, they are all the same, no matter what they did or what positions they held in the society.  We are all same when we stand in front of God.  No one has more rank than others do in the eyes of God.  No one is more superior, and certainly not inferior.

 

 

Like the gospel hymn written by Myunghee Song, a cerebral palsy patient, God is a fair God.  He created all things to be equal, and endowed exceeding and lacking characteristics to all beings.  What one lack, he has it in the other.  There is no need to be dispirited!  A feeling of superiority comes from arrogance, and this is a sin that we must get rid of.  A feeling of inferiority is also on par with superiority complex in terms of sinfulness.  God does not want His works of art to feel inferior and lead a life of low self-esteem and self-punishment.  Inferiority complex is an affront and profanity towards God.  We did not create ourselves God did.  Feeling inferior to others and dissatisfaction towards ourselves are acts of blasphemy against God, our Creator.

 

 

There was a delivery boy for Domino’s Pizza.  He was very diligent and industrious; as a result, he was the subject of all the customers’ praises.  An impressed customer asked the delivery boy for his name, for the customer intended to call the delivery boy’s supervisor to praise him.  The boy’s name was Theodore Roosevelt.  As you all know, Theodore Roosevelt was the 26th President of the United States.  The customer, upon hearing the boy’s name, smiled and said, “That’s quite a famous name.”  But the delivery boy replied in a serious tone.  “That’s right, it should be.  I’ve been delivering in this neighborhood for almost three years now.”  What a healthy self-confidence!  This boy had the pride equal to that of the President of the US while delivering pizzas!

 

 

God wants each one of to lead a happy, healthy, and victorious life.  The true obstacles to our happiness and health do not exist outside of us.  They reside within us.  It is our internal enemy, the inferiority complex and low self-esteem.  Trying to fix our appearance through millions of dollars worth of plastic surgery will prove futile in the end.  If we do not address our self-confidence, the image we have of ourselves, then exterior work will have no meaning.  There is a renowned plastic surgeon that tends to people’s hearts.  He is our Jesus.  Do you, by chance, harbor some sort of inferiority complex or low self-esteem?  Leave your problems up to our heart doctor, Jesus Christ.  With the bandage of gospel and Holy Spirit, He will surgically repair your hearts and restore them to health.  He will treat our hearts so that inferiority complex and low self-esteem can no longer preside over our hearts! 

Amen.

 

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