Lie #3: “I’m Worthless” and Other Labels


Welcome back to our blog series “Liar”, a look at our enemy and the lies he tells us. As a refresher, we’ve discussed Lie #1 “God’s Main Concern is my Happiness” and Lie #2 “If my life were different, I would be different”. This week’s lie seems to be an arrow flung with far too much frequency by the enemy and one believed by far too many of God’s children. Lie #3: “I’m worthless.”

Whenever I’m teaching at retreats about the enemy’s lies and I come to this one, I ask the ladies to raise their hands if they have believed lie #3 at some point in their lives. Without fail, every hand in the room has gone up. Why? count of monte cristo quote

After listening to story after story, one common denominator seems to resonate through most of these women’s issues…someone at some point gave them a label that stuck.

Names have power. Nicknames can be fun but when nicknames turn into labels, it can be a problem. Let me explain.

I recently conducted a Facebook and Twitter poll asking my friends what their nicknames were growing up. Some of my favorites were Snicklefritz, Squeaky, Casper, Noodle, Idgit, and Sassafras. Cute. Sweet. Then things took a twist.

Soon people started sharing their, uh, less flattering nicknames…monikers like Tubby, Fatso or Motor Mouth to name a few.

Names can turn into labels. Labels stick. Soon we begin to believe the lie that we are what the label advertises.

peachesTo put it another way, labels usually tell us what’s inside, right? If I walk into my pantry and grab a can that bears a label of plump, juicy peaches, I don’t expect to open the can and find black eyed peas inside. The label system works great for canned foods and organizing closets, but not for defining our own worth.

Some of us are slapped with a label just once, maybe twice by some cruel person and we believe the lie. We mistakenly believe we are what the label advertises.

“That boy said I’m ugly. So therefore I must be…

*unattractive to everyone.”

*I’ll always be unattractive.”

*I’m unattractive on the inside too.”

*No one will ever want me.”

On and on the lies go.

A dear friend of mine was told from the time she was young that she was unwanted and it wreaked havoc in her life. Why? Because she believed it. A lie is only detrimental if we believe it.

Maybe you have a label stuck to you that refuses to come off. Maybe it’s “Unwanted”. “Unlovable”. “Black Sheep”. “Depressed”. “Divorced”. “Loser”. “Mess up.” “Victim”. “Condemned.” “Never Good Enough”.

You are more than the label someone has given you.

value and worthThis lie of feeling worthless is based in rejection. Sometimes it may be more than words or feelings. You might have lived through the slicing pain of divorce. A nasty break-up. Perhaps you’ve been rejected by your family, mistreated by your coworkers, or fired from your job. For some, the most devastating blow of all is being forgotten by your children. For others, you might be dealing with the mess from your own consequences and poor decisions and you just need a little grace from people unwilling to give it.

Here’s the thing…your worth does not change based on someone’s ability to see it. 

Consider a priceless work of art. A Van Gogh painting. Pretend you are walking down the street and are stunned to see an original, authentic Van Gogh painting carelessly tossed into a dumpster. Why would anyone do such a thing? Clearly the owner had no idea of its worth. trash

Did the painting’s worth change based on its location or who owned it? No. Its value remained the same. This scenario only shows us the ignorance of the person who discarded it.

Don’t let someone who doesn’t understand your value define your worth.

As always, we need look no farther than Jesus. The Prince of Peace knows exactly what it’s like to be labeled worthless and rejected. 1 Peter 2:4 says this:

“Come to Him [the risen Lord] as to a living Stone which men rejected and threw away, but which is choice and precious in the sight of God.”

Did you catch that? Men rejected and threw away Jesus…the Creator, Redeemer, Savior, their Hope and King. There aren’t enough books in the world to contain all the words to describe the worth of Christ, yet men still rejected Him and threw Him away. It said nothing of His worth, only the inability of the people to understand that God Himself had come down to them. They didn’t understand the treasure they’d been given.

You are precious to God. He loved you so much He would have rather died than leave you in the dark. If you’re still battling lie #3 in your mind, you need look no further than the cross. jesus

Jesus didn’t die for junk. You are immeasurably priceless and loved by the God of the universe. When He gave up His life for you, He gave your life its worth.

Never let anyone tell you differently.


Bless Her Heart: Code Words and Torn Labels

Here in the South, we love sweet tea and cornbread, family and friends, pickup trucks and fishing. Walmart cashiers call their customers “Sweetie” and “Honey”. Deer hunting and frog gigging is a thing. Some schools even shut down for the opening day of deer season. Shopping carts are buggies and all sodas are called “Cokes”. Yes, it’s a whole other culture. Where else could you get by with saying, “This is so good, it makes me wanna slap my Momma!”?

We have several code words and phrases that sound like one thing but are actually another. The most popular among these phrases is the notorious “Bless her heart.” Transplants to our vibrant South may think it’s an endearment. Usually, it’s not.

“Bless her heart” is another way of calling someone an idiot.

bless her heart

It’s a sweet-sounding way of saying it, but Southerners can sense the sting behind the sugar. It’s a gentle way of labeling someone who doesn’t quite have it together.

Labels aren’t unique to the South. Indeed, they even affect our churches. In ‘Christianese’, having a “servant’s heart” means you get a lot of menial tasks dumped on your tired shoulders. For some, the label of having a “servant’s heart” is much less oppressive than being labeled “difficult” so they serve even when they don’t feel led to. There seems to be two types of servants: the joyful and the secretly resentful.

There are other labels, less positive ones. Labels that others have given us or we’ve had shoved down our throats for so long, we’ve begun to believe them and consequently, think our worth is determined by them. Divorced. Unwanted. Victim. Black Sheep. Alcoholic. Depressed. Never Good Enough. Failure.

Aren’t you glad that when we’re redeemed, God doesn’t see us through the labels others, or even ourselves have affixed to our person like a bad advertisement? He doesn’t see Failure, or Unlovable or Disappointment but looks beyond the crumbling, torn paper wrapping. He sees a treasure His Son died to save. He doesn’t call you Divorced or Alcoholic. Instead, the Father calls you Beautiful. My son. My daughter. Royalty. Loved beyond comprehension.

Beware of labels. Speak life. Your worth is not determined by your successes or failures. It rests in the pierced hands of Jesus. He knows your faults and shames and yet loves you beyond measure anyways.

Bless your heart.