GS24-10 Step Out of Labels of Doom and Gloom

Step Out of Labels of Doom & Gloom
Bill Giovannetti
In January, we launched an emphasis in our church called Giant Steps.

The idea is that we want to quit struggling with the same struggles we've had all our lives. We want to quit moving by increments and baby steps and instead start moving by Giant Steps. So that a year from now and five years from now we're not still stuck in the same places we're stuck in today.

It's time to step out of things holding us back, step into the amazing privileges and resources we get when we get Jesus, and then step up to our mission and high calling in Christ to make a difference for Christ and the gospel, a difference that lasts forever.

Today, I want to talk about stepping out of one of the deepest darkest problems that lurks in the shadowy corners of every human heart.

To introduce that problem, I'll start with a famous saying by Shakespeare. Macbeth, reflecting on the absurdity of life, suggests that life "is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing."

Notice that he's saying something both about what life is, but also about what we are.

Life, he says, is full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

And we, he says, are idiots—fools and fall guys for a giant cosmic joke.

Many historians, scientists, and others looking at life around us, at the human story, say that no value is evident, no sacredness of life discernible, through all the strange mixture of history.

We are idiots, one and all. Having no soul. No spirit. No essential dignity. Molecular machines. Lumps of matter energized by electricity. If you had to go buy the dust we're made of, we're worth about fifty cents.

This view of who we are shows in our culture. Francis Schaeffer predicted it 50 years ago. He said:

"We are watching our culture put into effect the fact that when you tell men long enough that they are machines, it soon begins to show in their actions. You see it in our whole culture—in the theatre of cruelty, in the violence in the streets, in the death of man in art and life." (In Escape from Reason)

This is the unavoidable endgame of the absurd and existential philosophies being played out before our very eyes today.

If you tell children often enough they are worthless, they will act in ways that devalue themselves and others.

If you tell them they are stupid, they will give up the heart's natural quest for truth.

If you tell them they are to be exploited and used, they will betray themselves over to be exploited and used again and again.

Into this bleak and depressing view of life comes a new message, with new hope, and a new perspective on human nature, one never before recorded in the annals of history.

This message says that humans are the special creation of God. It says we are made in his image. We are created with purpose. We are designed for dignity and honor. We have an origin that is sacred and in Christ, and a destiny that is glorious.

Our life is not absurd.
Our universe is not a cosmic accident.
Our identity is not that of idiots.

In the message of the gospel, in the message of Jesus Christ, you are a sacred being, precious to God, and worthy of dignity and respect.

But there is a problem that makes this difficult, and that is what I want to think about with you today.
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new." (2 Corinthians 5:17)

The Problem

The problem is we live in a fallen world. The whole world is in rebellion against the laws of God. In this rebellion, every one of us is caught in the crosshairs. There are many consequences of this, but one of the most powerful is a damaged sense of who you are.

Most people carry around a damaged sense of identity.

Odds are strong you've absorbed your sense of who you are from your family and the culture around you.

Odds are also strong those sources don't have the slightest clue of who you really are in the eyes of God.

So they slap their own labels on you: You're stupid, fat, ugly, too short, too tall. Wrong color, wrong abilities, wrong IQ. I wish you'd never been born. Don't bother me. You're a loser. You'll never amount to anything. I wish you were like your brother. Why can't you do anything right? You're evil. Dirty. I never wanted you. Failure.

These labels sink deep inside a person. They can latch onto your tender spirit. They haunt you.

One of the labels that haunted me the first half of my life was Stupid. You're stupid.

I'd like to say, for the record, I am not stupid.

I wish I could have told that to my 20-year old self.

What a struggle to be told again and again, "You sure are stupid."

Those labels have a nasty way of creating self-fulfilling prophecies.

I know I have not said our topic for today, so I'll do that now.

Step Out of Labels of Doom & Gloom

There are voices in your head stuck on a permanent loop. These voices echo the bullies in your past. They come from... the mean girls, the bullies, the stoned out parents, the absentee father, the unkind mother with her own issues, the abusers, the exploiters, the takers, the liars, the perverts, the pushers, the partiers, the spiritual vampires... every person who has planted seeds of self-doubt and broken self-esteem and painful rejection in a tender soul who deserved nothing but love.

Today, I want to help you identify those labels. I want to help you admit them. And to see how they are actually defining you and running your life.

Then, next week, I want to help you officially destroy those labels, and take on a whole new set of life-giving, beautiful labels for yourself. Don't miss that next week.

And then the week after, it gets even better, so hang on.