One of the things that I have discovered as a pastor is that many people struggle with their self-worth. Though we may put on a mask and appear to others that everything is OK, deep inside many of us are asking – ‘Who am I? What am I worth? Does anyone really care about me?’
Those most vulnerable to this struggle are teens. Many teens often act our their struggles through acts of violence and bizarre behavior. Most parents don’t know how to respond to this kind of behavior and so in an effort to make their child happy they give them everything they want; yet what the child wants the most is a sense of self-worth. Bizarre behavior is our child’s way of trying to find significance in this world.
The Bible tells us of a young man who had every right to have poor self-esteem, yet he possessed an inner strength that is admired, even by adults. His name is David.
1 Samuel 16:1 ‘Finally the LORD said to Samuel, “You have mourned long enough for Saul. I have rejected him as king of Israel. Now fill your horn with olive oil and go to Bethlehem. Find a man named Jesse who lives there, for I have selected one of his sons to be my new king.”
6 When they arrived, Samuel took one look at Eliab and thought, “Surely this is the LORD’s anointed!” 7 But the LORD said to Samuel, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The LORD doesn’t make decisions the way you do! People judge by outward appearance, but the LORD looks at a person’s thoughts and intentions.” 8 Then Jesse told his son Abinadab to step forward and walk in front of Samuel. But Samuel said, “This is not the one the LORD has chosen.” 9 Next Jesse summoned Shammah, but Samuel said, “Neither is this the one the LORD has chosen.” 10 In the same way all seven of Jesse’s sons were presented to Samuel. But Samuel said to Jesse, “The LORD has not chosen any of these.”
11 Then Samuel asked, “Are these all the sons you have?””There is still the youngest,” Jesse replied. “But he’s out in the fields watching the sheep.””Send for him at once,” Samuel said. “We will not sit down to eat until he arrives.” 12 So Jesse sent for him. He was ruddy and handsome, with pleasant eyes. And the LORD said, “This is the one; anoint him.” 13 So as David stood there among his brothers, Samuel took the olive oil he had brought and poured it on David’s head. And the Spirit of the LORD came mightily upon him from that day on. Then Samuel returned to Ramah.
David’s older brothers ridiculed him and his father doubted him; yet even while a teenager, the LORD chose him to be His king over Israel. What was it about the teenager David that caused him to stand out above all the rest? It was his relationship with the LORD.
7 But the LORD said to Samuel, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The LORD doesn’t make decisions the way you do! People judge by outward appearance, but the LORD looks at a person’s thoughts and intentions.”
Parents need to teach their children that their true worth is not measured by their physical appearance. True value is measured by who we are inside. Men may look on the outward appearance, but God looks on the heart.
Proverbs 31:30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the LORD will be greatly praised.