Romans 12:2 (NKJV) And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
One suffering that might develop into other forms of suffering is having a poor self-image. It will affect our job performance, our marriage, and inter-personal relationships, and it is one of the emotional baggage that might be triggered if we do not deal with it.
According to Rodney J. K. Wilson, Professor of Counselling at Regent College, the definition of self-image is “me looking at me”. We were all “taught” how to feel about ourselves in certain areas, through words, actions, and even silence from our parents, significant others, and life circumstances. We have all become good students of this teaching, so we tend to see ourselves in terms of our self-perceptions and to act in ways that are consistent with these perceptions. When we encounter people or circumstances that contradict our self-image, we may experience inconsistency, but we will tend to fall back on our historical self-perceptions rather than let the new information change our perspectives. For example, the self-image of someone who grew up in an environment where they were constantly bombarded by negative comments would have been negatively affected. They would be suffering quietly and react to the slightest comment by a friend, colleague, or spouse, which will affect their marriage and performance at work.
If someone grew up with comments like “you are good for nothing”, “you are a loser”, “you will never amount to anything” or “you are ugly”, they would not feel good or confident about themselves even if they became successful. They would be wearing a mask as they face the world. They would try extra hard to prove themselves, but they would crash when their self-effort fails or when they face a sudden failure in their adult life and find it difficult to pick themselves up again. This is especially true when they have built their self-image and identity on their achievements. Their self-rejection will get even worse if they also face rejection from others and society. Wounded in their souls, these people may inflict pain on themselves, numb their suffering through substance abuse, or abuse others as a defensive mechanism.
On the other hand, there are also those who are over-confident because they have built their security on their ego, but at some point, they will also be wounded because there will always be someone better than them in this world. Therefore, we can minister to all these people with the Word of God, and help them renew their mind, build their identity in Christ, and reconstruct how they look at themselves.
Sermon Series: Help! Go and Do Likewise