new life fellowship

serving jesus christ the king

Who’s worth it?

Over Christmas I caught a programme about the top ads of 2011. Several things struck me. One—I hadn’t seen any of the top ten ads in 2011. Two—I mustn’t watch very much TV. Three—I ‘ll have to get my TV tuned since the reception is so bad on 4 of the 8 channels that I don’t bother watching them, and of the remaining 4, only 2 show ads!

However, one set of ads can be guaranteed to get under my skin, up my nose and wherever else. They have one of the longest running slogans—a slogan which recently celebrated its 40th birthday. That means it has been annoying people longer than I have—quite an accomplishment.

The sight of another airbrushed, made-up and possibly botoxed face staring into the camera and intoning the magic mantra “Because I’m worth it” might just be enough to send me over the edge. And now, as if in an effort to convince herself, she has to say it three times! I refer to the L’Oréal ads, for those of you wondering from whence my angst originates.

L’Oréal is the largest cosmetics company in the world selling roughly 50 products per second and its slogan has become an internationally recognized catchphrase. It has been tweaked several times over the years, first to “Because you’re worth it” and then to “Because we’re worth it” and even to “Worth it”. (I sound almost as if I’m stalking it!)

Why does it get up my nose so much? I’m neither a miser nor a misogynist; I enjoy treating my wife, and feel she deserves to be well looked after and to look good. But something in me reacts against the celebration, albeit light-hearted, of self worth, for it captures the spirit of a culture which is self-indulgent, self-centred, and reclines in pampered self-esteem.

It makes me want to run a series of ads entitled “Hell—because I deserve it.” It might come with or without flames; in full colour or in sombre black and white. I haven’t quite decided. But each one would end with one of a series of faces, the first one mine, intoning “Hell—because I deserve it”.

I suppose it comes from the stark reality that I know I am guilty before God, and of myself I deserve nothing, not even good hair or supple skin. I suppose it comes from the fact that I look at the cross and marvel that God would send his Son to take my place, and I could never imagine looking at that blood-stained monument and saying “Because I’m worth it”.

A Christian is someone who is captivated not by self worth, but by Christ’s worth—who stands in grateful amazement that God would go to such lengths for them, even though they weren’t worth it or didn’t deserve it. Statements of self worth only serve to undermine that amazement and gratitude. And even if it is only for hair care products it still rankles!

Only Christ is worth it. Only he deserves all the attention, all the glory, all the acclaim.