Both the humiliation I experienced in the fourth-grade and the pride by which those girls gloated were based on the lies that we, as individuals within this mass of humanity, have intrinsic value or innate worth. We do not. There is nothing within any one of us—nothing intrinsic, innate, essential to our individual being—that can, in and of itself, automatically, inherently demand or expect any respect or honor or imputation of worth. None of us.
That subconscious understanding is one way, I think, Darwinism maintains its stranglehold on us. Each one of us knows—deep down in our secret, won’t-think-about-it place that no one else can ever know about—we know that if the glaring spotlight of harsh reality were suddenly focused on that inmost being, everyone would see how nothing we are.
When we can face that ugly reality, we are in a place to begin to understand the value of God’s mercy and grace.
It is Jehovah, the Almighty Creator of all, who established our worth when He, Himself, breathed into Adam the breath of life. There would be no “inalienable rights” if He had not created us in His image and bestowed upon Man a special place in His creation.
It is Jehovah, the Righteous Judge of all, who caused the author of Romans to proclaim, ‘For while we were still helpless’ (Rm 5.6a). Intrinsic value is beyond our reach; so are faith, hope, and love.
It is Jehovah God, the Lover of my soul, who gives me worth—gives each of us worth because He chose to love us even when we were His enemy.
The animosity those girls had for me in the fourth grade will not begin to hold a candle’s light in comparison to the blazing sunlight of my animosity toward God—’at the right time Christ [Jesus] died for the ungodly, For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, how much more, having been reconciled, will we be saved by His life!’ and so ‘we rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through Whom we have now received reconciliation’ with Jehovah, our Creator and all-surpassing Lover (Rm 5.6,10).
Those girls gave me the respect I intrinsically deserved—though not the respect God would want them to show. I pray they will find the Lover of their souls and their true worth in Him. And I hope Mrs. Pruneface really did know how to smile.