Our Unmet Needs: The Basics

What benevolence can't cure with a blank check

TRSYesterday, I walked into an empty room with the television playing and no one watching Charles Stanley. I am reading a few books by Charles Stanley and I love his style of preaching, so I took myself a seat, to listen closely. This sermon sent me to find some paper to take some notes. Charles Stanley is on my radar these days. So, I am making it Charles Stanley Week on this blog.

September 13, 1992 Television Message

Stanley states that the following three needs are absolutely “essential” for all healthy relationships — with God, others, self, etc. This is a “three-legged stool” according to Stanley, meaning that each leg must be present for the stool (the emotionally healthy individual) to remain standing — must be well-adjusted in all three areas or “things aren’t going to be right.” Stanley teaches God created these three basic needs in each person’s life, so that each person could be “whole”:

(a) a need for sense of belonging
(b) a need for sense of worthiness
(c) a need for sense of competence

“God made these a part of every one of our lives.” Stanley teaches that these are needs that God not only created in us, but that “God has also provided for” (Phil 4:19); i.e., belonging comes from salvation (from the Father through Christ), worthiness is evidenced by Christ dying for us and competence is from the Holy Spirit enabling us.

A.  Sense of Belonging — an awareness of being wanted, cared for, and accepted. Stanley states that “God has created in every single one of us the need to feel that we belong … These are legitimate needs that God has placed in all of us … This need doesn’t begin at 21. It begins in the mother’s womb.” Stanley contends that if this need isn’t satisfied in a loving, belonging household, you get “gangs, burning, looting, killing, sexual perversions, drugs, etc.” A teenager wouldn’t want to be part of a gang if his home life had fulfilled this “God-given need.”

According to Stanley, if you could do “no other thing” for a child, show him “that he belongs.” Those who do not have a sense of belonging will look for a substitute. People without sense of belonging have a difficult time giving or receiving love. When Jesus said on the cross, “Why hath thou forsaken me?,” He had lost his sense of belonging. “Jesus no longer felt He belonged … ‘My God, My God, My belongingness has been fragmented!'”

“What about a child growing up without that [sense of belonging satisfied]? You say ‘Well, they’ll get over it.’ No they won’t!” How does he know “you don’t get over it”? Stanley has experience on his side [not the Bible, because the Bible says believers can and do get over it (Phil. 3:12-14)]. But Stanley has “observed and listened to others for more than 35 years.” He also has the benefit of his own personal situation. Stanley never had a real sense of belonging (because he “moved 17 times in the first 16 years” of his life).

B.  Sense of Worthiness — “a sense of feeling good about yourself … everybody needs a sense of worthiness … there’s a healthy way to love yourself … Jesus said love our neighbors as ourselves. We are to love our neighbors and ourselves in a healthy fashion … there is a healthy way to love ourselves. We should respect ourselves. We should love ourselves in a godly fashion, not egotistically or pridefully, but in a healthful fashion … so we should love ourselves wisely.”

“God says, ‘Do you want to know how much you’re worth? … Here’s how much you’re worth. [Stanley stretches out his arms like Jesus on the cross.] I died for you. You’re worth so much, I was willing to die for you. That’s how much you’re worth. [applause] It makes no difference what anybody else thinks. I died for you. That’s how worthy I think you are.’ God looked down and said, ‘Is he/she [you and me] worth dying for? — and My answer is “yes,” (hallelujah), “yes.”‘”

That’s the reason you and I are saved. We were worth dying for … Just remember this every time you look at the cross … God is shouting ‘You are worth dying for!‘ … It is God, with all His absolute knowledge who said, ‘You and I are worth dying for.’ … I know I’m worth saving because God said it and God demonstrated it!”

“Why is it that people do not have a sense of worth? Everybody should love themselves or think well of themselves, but they don’t.” Anyone who gives you a “fishy handshake” is because “their sense of worth is dragging so deep in the mud, and they feel so unworthy … they can’t look you in the eye … Sometimes the worst kind of abuse isn’t beating … [it’s] feeling I’m unwanted and unworthy of being wanted.” Why are we worthy to be wanted? According to Stanley, it’s because “no child comes into the world hostile or angry. No child is born a rebel …” In Stanley’s opinion, we’re all born with the good outweighing the bad.

“Failures in our past that somehow we cannot overcome” also can cause a sense of unworthiness, as can sin. “Sin strikes out at your sense of self-esteem, your sense of worth. That’s why guilt can absolutely destroy our sense of worth …”

Many business failures are due to lack of worth feelings. “Something inside of them keeps shouting ‘You are not worth succeeding.’ … Some of that is that old tape recording placed there by our parents that said ‘You’ll never amount to anything in life. Don’t even try.’ … So sometimes it’s the sin of other people that causes us to have that sense of worthlessness.” You must deal with the past guilt or “subconsciously the gnawing is still going on … you don’t get over it by becoming an adult. You get over it by dealing with it.”

C.  Sense of Competence — “I can; I’m capable.” According to Stanley, Jesus spent so much time in the Upper Room (John 13-17) because He knew what the disciples were feeling — their sense of competence needed to be built up.

–  In closing, Stanley brings in one of David Seamands‘ heresies, “healing of emotions“: “People who planted things into your mind when you were a child growing up, they were devastating to you. You can be liberated and freed from every single solitary bit of it. Instantly? No. Because healing of emotions do not come over night. It takes time.” How can you get right with God and take a “dramatic step” towards wholeness? Stanley closes with a prayer and some advice:

“Father, I just want to thank You for showing me today that You took care of my sense of belonging by making me one of Your children. I want to thank You that You’re my Father and I’m Your child, and that I fully belong and nothing would be able to separate me from You. … I want to thank You that I must really be special because to think that You, God, would come to this earth, and be crucified on a cross in order to say to me, ‘You are worth My life.’ … I want to thank You for sending the Holy Spirit to live on the inside of me. Because now I know that I’m really capable of doing anything in this world You want me to do. So Lord, I’ll begin today to trust You to heal those damaged emotions back yonder. And I’m willing, Lord, to deal with any guilt back there that I’ve not dealt with. I’m willing to forgive anybody who planted the wrong attitudes in my mind and heart so that I can begin to enjoy my belongingness, and enjoy my worth, and enjoy my capacity as a child of God.”

“Some sermons you can walk out and put ’em in your pocket and forget it. You better not forget this sermon. You better not forget it. Because if you do, it’s going to affect you, your family, your friends, and it could affect you the rest of your life on this earthYou can be a whole person if you have a healthy sense of belongingness, worthiness, and competence. And if you don’t, you will die [long pause], NEVER COMPLETE!

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