The Bible’s Viewpoint
You Have Value in God’s Eyes!
“I HAVE BEEN PLAGUED WITH FEELINGS OF WORTHLESSNESS MOST OF MY LIFE,” WROTE ONE CHRISTIAN WOMAN. “NO MATTER HOW MUCH I LOVE JEHOVAH OR HOW MUCH EFFORT I PUT FORTH TO SERVE HIM, I ALWAYS FEEL THAT IT IS NOT GOOD ENOUGH.”
DO YOU know someone who struggles with deep feelings of inadequacy or unworthiness? Or do you have those feelings at times yourself? Such feelings are not uncommon, even among faithful worshipers of God. No one is immune to the effects of living in these “critical times hard to deal with.” Many have experienced neglect and abuse from individuals who are “without self-control, fierce, without love of goodness”—traits that are prevalent in “the last days.” (2 Timothy 3:1-5) Such painful experiences may leave deep emotional scars, causing feelings of utter worthlessness.
In other cases, negative feelings may be the result of people setting excessively high standards for themselves. Inability to reach these standards reinforces the feeling that they are just never good enough. Whatever the reason, those struggling with feelings of unworthiness may find it hard to see why God—or anyone else, for that matter—loves them. Indeed, they may even believe that they are simply unlovable.
But that is not how Jehovah God feels! In his Word, Jehovah warns us to guard against the “deceptive tactics” of his Adversary, Satan the Devil. (Ephesians 6:11, Jewish New Testament) Satan uses his deceptive tactics to try to get us to stop worshiping our God. To that end, Satan encourages the feeling that we are worthless, that Jehovah could never find us lovable. But Satan is “a liar”—in fact, “the father of the lie.” (John 8:44) Therefore, we must not be deceived by his deceptive tactics! In the Bible, Jehovah speaks for himself, reassuring us of our worth in his eyes.
A Balanced View of Our Worth
The Bible warns of the negative effect discouragement can have on us. Proverbs 24:10 states: “Have you shown yourself discouraged in the day of distress? Your power will be scanty.” Prolonged negative feelings within us can rob us of strength, making us feel weak and vulnerable. You can be sure that Satan knows this well. It is difficult enough if our heart is plagued with feelings of unworthiness. However, when Satan attempts to exploit such feelings, it makes such a situation even more burdensome.
It is important, then, that we have a healthy, balanced view of our worth. “I tell everyone there among you,” urged the apostle Paul, “not to think more of himself than it is necessary to think; but to think so as to have a sound mind.” (Romans 12:3) Another translation renders these words: “I would say to every one of you not to estimate himself above his real value, but to make a sober rating of himself.” (Charles B. Williams) So the scripture encourages us to have a balanced view of ourselves. On the one hand, we must guard against arrogance; on the other, we should try not to go to the opposite extreme, for Paul implies that to have a sound mind, it is necessary to think something of ourselves. Yes, under divine inspiration Paul indicates that each of us has value in Jehovah’s eyes.
A balanced sense of self-worth is also implicit in the words of Jesus when he said: “You must love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:39) The words “as yourself” indicate that we must have some feeling of self-worth, or self-respect. True, we have faults and make mistakes. But when we are striving to please God, are sorry about our shortcomings, and seek his forgiveness, we can still have some measure of self-worth. Our critical hearts might insist otherwise, but remember, “God is greater than our hearts.” (1 John 3:20) In other words, Jehovah sees us in a way that may be quite different from the way we see ourselves.
Broken Hearts, Crushed Spirits
The psalmist David wrote: “Jehovah is near to those that are broken at heart; and those who are crushed in spirit he saves.” (Psalm 34:18) Commenting on this verse, Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible notes: “It is the character of the righteous . . . that they are of a broken heart and a contrite spirit, that is, humbled for sin, and emptied of self; they are low in their own eyes, and have no confidence in their own merit.”
Those who are “broken at heart” or “crushed in spirit” may feel that Jehovah is far away and that they are too insignificant for Jehovah to care about them. But that is not the case. David’s words assure us that Jehovah does not abandon those who are “low in their own eyes.” Our compassionate God knows that at such times we need him more than ever, and he is near.
Consider an example. Some years ago a mother rushed her two-year-old son to the hospital because he was suffering from a bad case of croup. After examining the boy, the doctors informed the mother that they would have to keep him in the hospital overnight. Where did the mother spend that night? In a chair in the hospital room, next to her son’s bed. Her little boy was sick, and she just had to be near him. Surely we can expect even more from our loving heavenly Father, in whose image we are made! (Genesis 1:26; Isaiah 49:15) The touching words of Psalm 34:18 assure us that when we are “broken at heart,” Jehovah, like a loving parent, “is near”—ever watchful, attentive, and ready to help.—Psalm 147:1, 3.
“You Are Worth More Than Many Sparrows”
During the course of his earthly ministry, Jesus revealed much about Jehovah’s thoughts and feelings, including how Jehovah feels about His earthly servants. More than once, Jesus assured his disciples of their value in Jehovah’s eyes.—Matthew 6:26; 12:12.
For example, illustrating the individual worth of each of his disciples, Jesus said: “Do not two sparrows sell for a coin of small value? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground without your Father’s knowledge. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Therefore have no fear: you are worth more than many sparrows.” (Matthew 10:29-31) Consider what those words must have meant to Jesus’ first-century listeners.
Sparrows were evidently among the cheapest of all the birds used for food. These tiny birds were usually plucked, skewered on wooden sticks, and roasted like kabobs. Jesus had no doubt seen poor women in the marketplace counting out their coins to see how many sparrows they could purchase. The birds were counted as of so little worth that for a coin of small value (literally, an assarion, worth less than five cents), an individual could purchase two sparrows.
Jesus restated this illustration sometime later—but with a slight difference. According to Luke 12:6, Jesus said: “Five sparrows sell for two coins of small value, do they not?” Think about it. For one coin of small value, a purchaser got two sparrows. But if he was prepared to spend two coins, he got not four sparrows but five. The extra bird was thrown into the deal as if it had no value at all. “Yet,” said Jesus, “not one of them [not even the one thrown into the bargain] goes forgotten before God.” Applying the illustration, Jesus concluded: “You are worth more than many sparrows.” (Luke 12:7) How those words must have encouraged his listeners!
Do you get the point of Jesus’ heartwarming illustration? If Jehovah considers even little birds to be of value, how much more must his earthly servants be dear to him! With Jehovah, none of us is lost in the crowd. Each of us is of such worth to Jehovah that he takes note of even the smallest detail about us—the very hairs of our heads are individually numbered.
Of course, Satan will continue to use his “deceptive tactics”—such as exploiting feelings of unworthiness—to get us to stop serving Jehovah. But do not let Satan win! Recall the Christian woman quoted at the outset. She was helped by an article in the Watchtower magazine that warned of Satan’s efforts to exploit our feelings.* She says: “I never realized that Satan tries to use my feelings to discourage me. Knowing this gives me the motivation to fight these feelings. Now I can stand up to these satanic attacks, with my head held high.”
Jehovah “knows all things.” (1 John 3:20) Yes, he knows what we are enduring now. He also knows what we have experienced in the past that may have crushed our self-respect. Remember, it is Jehovah’s view of us that counts! No matter how unlovable or worthless we may think we are, Jehovah reassures us that each of his servants is of value to him. We can take Jehovah at his word, for, unlike his Adversary, God “cannot lie.”—Titus 1:2.
See the article “You Are Precious in God’s Eyes!” in the April 1, 1995, issue of The Watchtower, pages 10-15.
[Blurb on page 12]
Like a loving parent, Jehovah is near to those who are sad at heart
[Pictures on page 13]
If Jehovah does not forget the sparrow, how could he forget you?
Illustrated Natural History