June 18, 2009

The modern notion of self-esteem says that we must feel good about ourselves in order to be emotionally healthy, to have good relationships with others, and to perform well.  Here are a few reasons why we must reject such thinking:

  • “For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.”  (Romans 12:3)
  • “For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself.”  (Galatians 6:3)
  • “I am the vine; you are the branches.  Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”  (John 15:5)
  • “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.  The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector.  I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’  But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’  I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other.  For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”  (Luke 18:10)

In short, esteeming one’s self isn’t presented in Scripture as the key to our well-being.  Quite the opposite.  It’s presented as the hurdle to our well-being, and a damnable one at that.  The great problem of humanity isn’t that we think too little of ourselves but too highly.  The kingdom is for the poor in spirit (Matthew 5:3).


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