You’re not good enough

Published 9:55 pm Tuesday, October 29, 2019

By Charles Qualls

A young Florida boy who loved his home state University of Tennessee wanted to represent the Volunteers during his elementary school’s recent “College Colors Day,” but didn’t own any of their apparel. Obviously he couldn’t just run to the school bookstore and buy a T-shirt, so he took the matter into his own hands. Maybe you’ve heard the story that continues to make national news.

Laura Snyder, his teacher at Altamonte Elementary School in Altamonte Springs, Florida, says he hand-drew a “U.T.”, the university’s logo, on paper and pinned it to an orange T-shirt. “When the day finally arrived, he was so excited to show me his shirt,” Snyder wrote.

But by lunch time, the spirited Vols fan was in tears.

“Some girls at the lunch table next to his (who didn’t even participate in college colors day) had made fun of his sign that he had attached to his shirt. He was devastated,” said Snyder.

We conclude our sermon series titled “Lies the Culture Tells Us” with a tough one. It is so easy for you to look around at what others show you of their lives. You can quickly come to the conclusion that you’re not good enough.

Psalm 139 was the Scriptural background for our sermon this Sunday. Picture if you will the person who has absolutely no escape. Every time they look around, their observer is there. Every time they think they are alone, their pursuer is there. Every corner they turn, the watching eyes are still on them. There is nowhere to go. There is no place far enough away. There is no thought private enough. At every turn, at every juncture and at every new moment or season, the presence is right there. Watching. Listening. Relentlessly pursuing. Knowing them in ways that are not only inescapable but almost invasive — so thorough is their presence.

This is not the plot from a Lifetime network movie. This is not from some thriller novel/film franchise. Nor, from a Halloween slasher.

This is the conclusion reached about God in a psalm that has not only been attributed to King David. But, based on the images and metaphors, there are some who believe they know when David actually wrote this.

What I have to say will do absolutely no good for the tiny fragment of us who have wonderful self-esteem. I genuinely acknowledge that there are some few of you who have never wondered for one minute whether you are perfectly lovable and accepted by others. The rest of us envy you genuinely.

We live in an era where most all of us curate our lives much like a museum director does a collection. There’s a reason why Charlie Rich’s song connected all those years ago with us. Because truly “… no one knows what goes on behind closed doors.” That is, the closed doors of our houses, our mouths or our minds.

Only our best moments go on social media for the world to see. We only share our smiling-est pictures, with us looking our best. Our celebrations. Our memories of special times. That’s mostly what we reveal.

Lest I create a misunderstanding, this is also mostly healthy adult behavior. Inappropriate disclosure to relative strangers is not exactly recommended. So, we show the good stuff and hold back many of life’s challenges. Then, when it really matters your sad news, your bad news, will be well-received too. When you truly need support, your friends will discern that and respond. I hope.

Some believe that Psalm 139 was written by a young David, not yet king. Specifically, some theorize he was on the run from King Saul’s rage when he wrote this. Of course, what the psalmist had discovered was that although he could out-fox and out-maneuver his opponent, there was no escape from his loving God.

His conclusion that there is no hiding place good enough to escape God, and that there is no thought undisclosed to God, ends up being a comforting one. The curated goodness especially of others’ social media accounts can lead us to conclude that our lives might be lacking. Someone else’s house is nicer or bigger. Someone’s family is prettier, their spouse is more loving or they themselves are more accomplished than we.

It’s all too easy to breathe in the lie that we’re just not good enough. Give the psalm a read though, and see if that’s what David decided. He makes a compelling case that we are pretty important to the Creator. Each one of us, just like we are.

THE REV. DR. CHARLES QUALLS is senior pastor at Franklin Baptist Church. Contact him at 562-5135.