CHRISTIANS AND SELF-ESTEEM PART 3

THE TWO FLAWS OR WEAKNESSES OF SELF-ESTEEM

The Flaw Of Comparison. No matter what kind of self-esteem you have—good or bad—there are two inherent flaws in self-esteem. No degree of good self-esteem is truly good until or unless these two flaws are remedied. The first flaw is that of comparison. Most people’s self-esteem is gained by comparing oneself with others. Consider the five things that we base our self-esteem on. We can talk about our looks, our character, our acceptance, our abilities, or our achievements. We judge ourself in relation to others: we don’t look as pretty as Betty Sue, we’re not as patient as Randy John, we’re just not as good at painting as Mattie Mae, and we haven’t been successful like Billy Ray. Do you see what I mean? We compare ourself with other people and the results of that comparison become the basis and content of our self-esteem.

The problem with comparison-based self-esteem is there’ll always be people who are better than us—people who, though unintentionally perhaps—ruin our self-esteem. And conversely, there’ll always be people who are not as good as us—inducing us to pride and arrogance. Friends, we’ll never really, truly feel good about ourself as long as we compare ourself with others.

The Flaw Of Godlessness. I think it’s healthy, rewarding, and fulfilling for people to have good self-esteem. I wouldn’t want to live life feeling bad about, and hating, myself. So I think it’s good for people to think good about themselves. But the greater, more important question is, What does God think about me? I may feel good about myself, but does God have, or share, the same feeling about me? Hell, no doubt, is full of people who lived life feeling good about themselves—in spite of the fact that they were abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate, Titus 1:6.

In the end, when every human being stands before the judgment seat of God to be sentenced either to endless bliss in Heaven or endless torment in Hell, our self-esteem counts for nothing if God is not a part—yea, the central part, of our life. This is the second flaw of self-esteem. No matter how good a perception we have of ourself, self-esteem without God as the Master and Lord of our life will not spare us eternal pain and misery in Hell. Self-esteem is really, truly good only when we let God shape our opinion and view of ourself.

CHRISTIANS AND SELF-ESTEEM

Should Christians have self-esteem? Yes, according to a lot of Christians. But you’d be surprised to find Christians, not a few, who believe that self-esteem has no place in the Christian life. From where I stand, an honest inquiry into the facts will show that every human being has self-esteem. It’s the way we’re built. It comes with being human. We can’t get rid of it any more than we can get rid of our own human nature. As long as we’re human and alive, we all have self-esteem. The difference is the kind, or amount, of self-esteem that we have. So let me reword the question. What does God want us to do with our self-esteem? Does He even want us to have self-esteem? Should we rid ourselves of self-esteem? If not, then what kind of self-esteem does God want us to have? Wow! Is this interesting or what? Let’s see what the Bible has to say.

GOD DOESN’T WANT US TO BE PROUD

It goes without saying that God doesn’t want us to be proud, arrogant, conceited, or vain. 1 Peter 5:5-6 admonishes us, Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. {6} Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time. Paul had something to say about pride when he told us in Romans 12:3, For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. Of course, Philippians 2:3 is the classic Scripture passage that instructs us to esteem others better than ourself: Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. God, brethren, doesn’t want to be proud.

GOD’S PROHIBITION AGAINST PRIDE ISN’T A PROHIBITION AGAINST SELF-ESTEEM

Unfortunately, many Christians stop with God’s prohibition against pride and don’t consider the rest of what God had to say about self-esteem. Some things that God said are commonly overlooked or ignored because we want to concentrate on the main thing that God’s telling us, which is, Don’t be conceited or vain! Main point acknowledged. But in all fairness and honesty to God, we’ve got to listen to everything He said. I suppose if it wasn’t important He wouldn’t have said it.

Romans 12:3 is a good example. For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think (Romans 12:3). God, brethren, doesn’t want us to be proud and conceited. But His prohibition against vanity and conceit isn’t a prohibition against us having some kind of regard, respect, or esteem for ourself. He doesn’t want us to think more highly of ourself than we ought to think, but that’s not to say—it’s not the same as saying—that God doesn’t want us to think anything of ourself. The fact is, God wants us to think, we ought to think,  something about ourself—just not more highly that we ought to think less we become conceited, vain, arrogant, and proud. God, I am saying, is telling us it’s alright, within reason, for us to have self-esteem.

Coming Up On My Next Blog Post, Part 4: Loving self versus hating self and what God has to say.

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