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The Gospel of Self-Esteem

It seems like 40 years ago no body was diagnosing anyone's problem as "low self-esteem." But now this phrase is touted as a sacred Dx, as a problem needing a cure. But wait just a minute. How can we diagnose self-esteem?

Take a group of persons. Have them secretly rate themselves as to self-esteem using a card. Use a scale of 0-10 (like pain). 0 means you consider yourself on a par with Adolph Hitler. 10 means you are absolutely perfect. 5 means you deserve an exactly average estimation. Where would you rate yourself? It is a safe bet that the average person rates himself well over 5. Do we really have a problem with self-esteem? Or is our problem pride? Biblically speaking, pride is a sin, and pride goes before a fall. Yet "pride" is touted as a virtue today. But God's word tells us that it is humility which is a virtue.

If "low self-esteem" is rare, is it a problem when it occurs? Suppose a person is a serial rapist, murderer, mutilator of persons (Jack the Ripper). Does such a person deserve high self-esteem? Is not our problem rather "accurate self-esteem."

Are we not talking about the conscience here? We have consciences which condemn us from time to time. We may have a stern alter-ego which tells us when we have done wrong. If we have a conscience which condemns us for innocent activity, we have a problem. The problem may be with erroneous standards of judgement which conscience employs. If we have a conscience which overlooks our many faults, or forgives them by saying that we have compensating virtues or we are better than others, then we have a seared concience. Defence mechanisms are protections vs. our conscience.

If we take someone who has well-deserved low self esteem and try to conjure up in him high self-esteem, we are attempting to create a person with anti-social personality disorder; i.e., no or little conscience.

The Christian finds his self-esteem basically by concluding Amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a WRETCH like me. But then he discovers in the NT that the Christian has been born again, recreated in the image of God, placed into the Body of Christ (the Universal Church). God has shown His love so much that Christ died for His sins. God has graciously made us worthy and has made us valuable at the price of Christ's blood on the cross. So now we esteem ourselves as Children of God, thanks to God's grace, not our native excellencies.