YOU ARE SOMEBODY.
Way back in the 1970s (before your parents were even your parents!) there was a special effort aimed at developing the abilities of students in the inner cities. The program was called Excel and was led by the Reverend Jesse Jackson.
Jesse Jackson traveled across the country speaking to students in many inner-city schools. He came from Chicago, where he had begun the program, and traveled to places like Los Angeles; Washington, D.C.; Detroit; and New York. His message was based on the way many children in poor sections of the city (especially poor, African-American children) felt about themselves. They felt that, because of where they lived and what they owned and what they heard others say about them, they weren't worth much. Many young people feel the same way today.
Jesse Jackson brought a simple message into those areas. At a graduation ceremony at Calvin Coolidge High School in Washington, D.C., he started his speech by saying, "I am somebody!" The students repeated the phrase: "I am somebody!" Then he continued: "I am somebody! My mind is a pearl! I can learn anything in the world! I.. . am ... somebody!"
As he traveled across the country, Jesse Jackson repeated the phrase, "I am somebody," and young people across the nation echoed, "I am somebody." He realized that no one can respect others unless he respects himself. He realized that no one can achieve true greatness unless she respects herself. He realized that people can never become all that God wants them to be unless they first respect themselves.
The apostle Paul once delivered a similar message to early Christians in a city called Ephesus. He wrote, "We are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so that we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.... So now you ... are no longer strangers and foreigners. You are citizens along with all of God's holy people. You are members of God's family. We are his house, built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets. And the cornerstone is Christ Jesus himself (Ephesians 2:10, 19-20).
You are God's masterpiece! You are somebody!
REFLECT: Do you respect yourself? If not, why not? Do you ever treat yourself disrespectfully? If so, why? How do you think respecting yourself helps you respect others?
ACT: Write the following phrases on separate index cards: "I am God's masterpiece!" "I am a citizen along with all of God's holy people!" "I am a member of God's family!" "I am becoming a holy temple for the Lord." "I am somebody!" Place one card each day at the bottom of your bedroom or bathroom mirror to serve as a "caption" every time you look into the mirror.
PRAY: Say these words (Psalm 139:14) with the psalmist: "Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous and how well I know it."