Tears ran down the cheeks of the NYPD detective as she finally verbalized something she had resisted admitting for quite some time. Her friend, another detective, waited to hear what he already knew. The words were said with such resolve, and the admission seemed almost freeing as she accepted a brutal truth: “I am damaged goods.” The other detective did not debate the admission in an attempt to make his friend feel better. He only added to it, stating, “That’s right.”
My mind began to consider the truth of this scene being played out on my TV. The words “damaged goods” caused me to reflect on my own life and how I see myself.
‘Regarded as inadequate’
“Damaged goods” is a “person considered to be flawed … in character, efficiency or worth; a person regarded as inadequate or impaired … a person whose reputation has been corrupted or tarnished,” according to Merriam-Webster.
To see yourself as flawed in character or worth, or inadequate or impaired in some ways does not, on the surface, lend itself to healthy self-esteem.
We long to experience happy emotions and thoughts because we think those make life better, so we seek acclaim, and we run from what might cause us or others to think less of us. I have done the same in my life, and I have embraced the idea that negative self-talk is just, well, negative.
I realize we need to speak positively to ourselves, but what if some of the negative things we see in ourselves are positive? What if it is a positive thing to see and accept the things we don’t like in ourselves? What if being “damaged goods” and embracing that thought is the very place we need to be so we can walk in some freedom and move forward in our Christian life?
Recently I began a new journey, and it requires some knowledge of computer technology and savviness on social media, areas in which I am sadly inept. It is a different language to this 57-year-old brain, and learning how to speak it has led me down a path to thoughts of inadequacy.
If I am not careful, such thinking can further lead me down a path to self-loathing. I have been there before. But my thoughts of inadequacy can be a positive force to push me to take a deeper look at those areas where I need to improve and try new things.
For most of us, seeing ourselves as “damaged goods” does not equate with taking steps toward change. Typically, damaged goods are thrown away or sold at a cheaper price since they are not as valuable.
But the following words spoken by the NYPD detective’s friend opened my eyes to biblical truth believers can miss. He said, “That’s right. And that’s OK. You think it’s a weakness? Make it a strength. It’s part of you. So use it.”
In his letter to the Corinthians, Paul shared a powerful truth that can rub us the wrong way. He spoke of a thorn in the flesh given to him by God to torment him so he would not exalt himself. He asked the Lord three times to take the thorn away, to which the Lord replied, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.”
To Paul this meant he could boast about his weakness now instead of complaining or allowing it to take him down to a dark place in his mind. Paul’s response was to see his weakness as a place for strength; not his own, but God’s.
Our struggle with weakness comes from a wrong view of ourselves. A view that only wants to see the positive in ourselves, even if we delight in seeing the negative in others.
Paul took this perspective so far as to say, “Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Cor. 12:7–10).
Instead of hiding or complaining about his weaknesses, Paul boasted about them. He was content with them. He was willing to “make it a strength” by allowing a place for God’s power to be perfected in him.
Journey toward healing
As a believer and a pastor’s wife, I am damaged goods. I have been rejected, losing community and relationships. I have experienced trials that pointed out my impairments and possibly tarnished my reputation in the eyes of some. My desire as a pastor’s wife was to be all I expected others to be, but the circumstances and trials of life revealed significant weaknesses I hated to see, much less admit. I failed to be all I wanted to be in the eyes of others, but now I choose to look at myself as a place for the strength of God.
Our weakness, His strength
Identifying the damage in my own heart and embracing it as part of me allows the Spirit of God to use it for His glory and purpose.
His purpose is to demonstrate His strength amid our weaknesses, so why would we not boast in the thing which points to God?
Believers, we all have something to boast about because in our weakness He is strong. Therefore, we can boast most gladly.
By Kathi Holcomb
Reminders from Henry Blackaby
The concept is so simple, yet we miss it so often: “Watch to see where God is working, and join Him in His work.”
That’s the famous quote by retired pastor and Bible teacher Henry Blackaby, co-author of “Experiencing God: Knowing and Doing the Will of God.”
First published in 1990 by Lifeway Christian Resources, the study was recently revised and updated in honor of its 30th anniversary, a bit delayed because of the pandemic but nonetheless out and experiencing a revival of sorts.
Richard Blackaby joined his father, Henry Blackaby, and co-author, Claude King, in the revision of the study. Blackaby’s grandsons, Mike and Daniel, also participated in the latest video sessions accompanying the workbook.
The message of “Experiencing God” is built on what Blackaby calls seven realities.
- God is always at work around you.
- God pursues a continuing love relationship with you that is real and personal.
- God invites you to become involved with Him in His work.
- God speaks by the Holy Spirit through the Bible, prayer, circumstances and the church to reveal Himself, His purposes and His ways.
- God’s invitation for you to work with Him always leads you to a crisis of belief that requires faith and action.
- You must make major adjustments in your life to join God in what He is doing.
- You come to know God by experience as you obey Him and He accomplishes His work through you.
By Jennifer Davis Rash
Editor-in-Chief, The Baptist Paper
“If the soul is a garden to be tended to, as all of God’s good creation is, then we must approach the garden with a sense of sacred awe. People are profoundly complex: both beautiful and broken, productive and paralyzed, fruitful and foolish.”
Excerpt from “Toughest People to Love: How to Understand, Lead, and Love the Difficult People in Your Life — Including Yourself” by Chuck DeGroat, author and faculty member of the Soul Care Institute
“No one church can do all that needs to be done for the gospel, but when we pool our resources, God can do that,” said Jay Stewart, director of the office of Cooperative Program and church financial resources at the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions
“I am doing ministry from a supportive role now, and I want to see others succeed in sharing the gospel,” said Tony Lynn, church planting leader, Baptist State Convention of Michigan.
“Our primary aim when we sing to people is to touch their lives. … We’re glad to get accolades or something like that, but we want to touch a life,” said Jimmy Carter, lead singer, group leader and the only original member left of gospel group Blind Boys of Alabama.
“The world is desperate for a word of hope,” said Sandy Wisdom-Martin, WMU executive director. “As Christians, we know there is nothing equivalent to hope found in Christ. When hope in Christ is all you have, hope in Christ is all you need.”
“I believe the secret to longevity is to not sit around and feel sorry for yourself,” said Meldra Panchelli, who celebrated her 100th birthday in July and is a member of First Baptist Church Milledgeville, Georgia.
“Jesus is the center of everything,” said Joey Harris, director of ministry advancement for Mission at the Cross, a sister outreach ministry that partners with Hellfighters USA motorcycle shop. “You walk through Hellfighters Motorcycle Shop, you’re going to see Jesus everywhere.”
“I know that I can’t be the best racer I can be unless I have my faith as strong as it can be,” said Sting Ray Robb, 20-year-old Indy Lights driver.
Never forget to take your burdens to God. Let Him help you carry the weight of a heavy heart. And let His Spirit and His Word spur you to action.
Jessica Ingram, the-scroll.com
“Prayer does not fit us for the greater work. Prayer is the greater work.” Oswald Chambers
FROM THE TWITTERVERSE
Last year when (my son) Philip ran cross-country, after he finished one race, he ran next to his friend speaking encouraging words so that he, too, would finish the race.
Today a kid he didn’t know did the same thing for him.
May we do the same in this life for one another.
How do we understand the decline of the church in North America in the past decades where 4,000 Protestant churches close each year and SBC is declining in baptisms/membership/attendance? Financial giving continues strong, but that’s a lagging indicator of decline.
I have thoughts.
“The cure to worry is trust — trust in God, and trust in His love and protection. God loves us, and the proof is Jesus Christ, who gave His life for our salvation.”
Exodus 3 — A humbled man, living in a humbling situation, doing a humbling task (shepherd), hears from the Lord.
Maybe humility is important?
If someone comes to mind “out of the blue,” don’t ignore it.
Very often God’s Spirit prompts us to think of someone so that we’ll pray for them or reach out to them.
You’ll never regret reaching out and saying, “The Lord brought you to mind. Is there anything I can pray for?”
Mission and missions are more than programs, departments or events for a congregation. The mission of God is the impetus, method & approach believers must take to life & the world.
5 truths about Sabbath:
- Sabbath is not a reward for hard work.
- Sabbath is a reminder that our work will remain incomplete.
- Sabbath is a day that moves us from production to presence.
- Sabbath reminds us that we are not God.
- Sabbath points us to the deeper rest we need found in Christ.