I have never been a fan of the phrase and question, “I have good news and bad news…which would you like to hear first?” Depending on the context in which that question is asked, the answer may or may not be what you want to hear regardless of which one you want to hear first. At the same time, if I am ever faced with that dilemma, I tend to always choose the bad news first only because the good news can many times help to ease the bad news and encourage you rather than vise versa and having the bad news discourage you.
Psalm 8 has some of these same elements in it. There is the good news and the bad news. I think that understanding both of these aspects will greatly help a person struggling with inferiority issues. When a person constantly believes that they don’t match up to other people or tend to shrink in the face of obstacles because they lack confidence. These are inferiority issues. These issues can also be revealed when a person has to act overly aggressive in order to try and prove something to those around them because of insecurity and wrong feelings. I believe that Psalm 8 can help to encourage those that struggle in this way.
The first way it helps with inferiority is that it reveals praise to God for His Superiority (vv. 1-2; 9) The reality of this passage is that the glory that God gives to mankind results in glory being given back to God in the form of praise. He is the one that is totally superior to all of the creation that He has made. Romans 1:20 clearly states that all of creation cries out as a witness not only to His existence but also to His very character. God is superior because He is the creator of everything that moves and breathes. The sooner that every man understands this truth, the quicker they will be to bow to Him and worship at His feet. Man will quickly understand that he is nothing. Feeling inferior is the result of one thinking that they don’t match up or that they have to try harder and be more aggressive in order to match up. The reality is that no one can match up to God. He is far superior than any man and because of that all men fall short and are completely inferior.
The second way it helps with inferiority is that it reveals the inferior position of all men. (vv. 3-4) As has been mentioned already, in considering God and all of His creation, one quickly realizes that man is not God and that he is nothing compared to God. Hence the question by the psalmist, “What is man that you are mindful of him? Perhaps it could be put a bit more simply by saying that because man is nothing, man should never be our standard. It is not an issue that some men make it and some don’t or that the ones that do not make it have to work that much harder to be accepted. The issue is that no man makes it when it comes to matching with God. This realization makes the playing field even for everyone. No matter how good, how talented, how rich, how poor…every man misses the standard. This is why Paul writes that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). A person will stop feeling inferior the moment they recognize this fact…God is the only one about whom they need to be concerned.
The final way this Psalm helps with inferiority is that it reveals the privilege of all men. (vv. 5-8) Even though man is inferior and God is superior, there is the good news that every man has been given the privilege of being in the image of God as Genesis 1:26-27. This is referred to as man being made “imago Dei” or in the image of God. Being made in the image of God means that every man has inherent worth in God’s eyes and that God made every person the exact way in which they were to be made according to His perfect will. Furthermore, man has the ability to be God’s representatives here on this earth by having dominion over the earth.
In conclusion, inferiority problems are really a struggle with selfishness, pride, and even guilt. If we will but humble ourselves and start by understanding that we are nothing compared to God and then further understand the worth that every man has by being a creation of God, those inferior thoughts will leave very quickly. God has given every man the privilege of reflecting Him, therefore, each of us must shine as only we can shine!