The Psalmist in Psalm 23 gives us good advice about everyday living and coping.
Sample of script:
There is perhaps no single area which bothers us as greatly as the problem of self image, the way in which we view ourselves. This creates a feeling of inadequacy or, alternatively, of over-confidence in our own abilities. The strange thing is that self image problems tend to be self-perpetuating. A low self image will lead to feelings that one is a constant and an on-going failure. The person with the low self image will find ways to prove to himself that he is a failure.
The feminist movement is just one example of the effects of low self image. Recently in Dallas I saw a sign which said, "I am woman, I am invincible." This kind of statement, while fostered by many years of obvious sexual inequality, is an outgrowth of a low self image. This kind of attitude obviously will fail, none of us are invincible. When those making such statements find, as they will, that they are only human and therefore fallible this will further reinforce the feelings of low self image. The vicious circle continues.
What about the over-inflated self image, the braggart, the pompous over-bearing person. Really this person has everything in common with the timid, self-effacing doormat. Both have a low self image problem. The timid person hides his low self image behind a mask of persecution whereas the braggart is trying to hide his low self image behind a mask of bravado. The great fear of all of us seems to be that the world might see us as we really are.
My father came straight from Glasgow, Scotland to this country. Until the day he died he never lost his beautiful Scottish accent or his love for the poetry of Scotland's favorite son, Robbie Burns. I can still hear my father reciting one of his favorite Burns' poems: "Oh wad some power the giftie gie us, To see oursels as ithers see us."
Although a scary thought, perhaps the best cure for a faulty self image is "to see ourselves as others see us." While from time to time our peers may be unfair, over the long haul the opinion of those around us is fair, objective and accurate.
But even more important than Burns' evaluation is to be able to see ourselves as God sees us. The Bible seems to give a very wide range of answers as to how God views man. Some passages speak of man as worthless while others describe man as God's most precious creation. Which is fact?
To me, Psalm 23 is the testimony of one who not only needed a shepherd, he found a shepherd. What I have enjoyed about this psalm is the "sheep", the psalmist, was so thoroughly thrilled with the sheep - shepherd relationship which he found. Psalm 23 can be used to help develop a healthy self image but first we need to have a "sheep image" or a "sheep mentality." I think the psalmist felt the role of the sheep and was looking to his shepherd for guidance and direction.
So Clue # 1 to developing a healthy self image - develop a sheep image
Think it is wrong to refer to humans as sheep? Look up Isaiah 53:6. "We are sheep who have gone astray and have turned each to his own way."
With my farm background I have had a bit to do with sheep and can tell you that, in my opinion, they are among the least intelligent animals I have known. I have seen my brother's herd of sheep in a lush pasture with more than they can eat. Then an adventuresome sheep finds a hole in the fence and wanders away from the green pastures and out onto a busy highway. There, to a symphony of car horns and screeching brakes the sheep flirts with death.
You would expect that the other sheep would seriously question the mentality of the first sheep. But instead they all follow the wayward sheep into danger. There, in the middle of the road, any reasonable sheep would look around and say, "things were better in green pastures, let's go back". Rather, they mill around until the shepherd and his dog come and almost force them back into green pastures. How we humans are like sheep!
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