I Need More Self-Esteem – You Need More Self-Esteem – We All Need More Self-Esteem
By Don Koenig
The need for higher self-esteem is the mantra of our time. We are told that we all do not put enough value on ourselves. What psychologist would ever tell anyone that they need less self-esteem? Who would go to them for that kind of advice? The self-help books all agree; they say the main problem in the world is low self-esteem, and if we could bring everyone's self-esteem up, most of the world's problems would soon vanish.
Even religious leaders tell us that those with low self-esteem are the problem children of the world. Rick Warren, the pastor of Saddleback Church, wrote the most popular Christian self-help book in history. In his book, “The Purpose Driven Life”, Warren infers that if we find our purpose in life, we will esteem ourselves more highly and that is what God wants for us. The most powerful man in Christianity, Dr. James Dobson, is also the top pusher of self-esteem. The most watched TV preacher of all time is Robert Schuller. Who would deny that he teaches that people need more self-esteem? Another very popular TV example would be Kenneth Copeland who tells us that we are gods and we should realize it and act like it. What god has low self-esteem? There is no room for low self-esteem in the word-faith movement at all. Just ask Joyce Meyer.
The self-esteem pushers can even give us many examples of those they say had low self-esteem. They will tell us that people like Hitler did what they did because they had low self-esteem. They will tell us these people did not love themselves so how could they love others. Thus, those like Hitler spread this self-hate to the world. They can give many such examples using social misfits and psychopaths who truthfully had so much self-esteem that more likely than not they thought the world revolved around them.
Many even sell the world the goods that certain ethnic groups and nations are not achieving what they should because too many people in them have low self-esteem. They get away with saying these things without even being called prejudiced. On the other hand, if a man said that many in these ethnic groups and nations had no fear of the Lord and that this is the reason why they do not have their needs met, he would be labeled a religious radical and a racist.
The mantra of self-esteem is accepted by the trained intellectual pushers so now the world leadership will also force feed it to us as if it were gospel truth. Who is going to really question the gurus of self-esteem or try to find out where this philosophy actually originates? I guess it will have to come via me.
What is the truth about self-esteem?
For Christians all absolute truth is found in the Bible. Therefore, what does God have to say about self-esteem?
Php 2:3 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.
Paul tells us to esteem others more than ourselves. Those that are seeking vain glory sounds to me like someone seeking more esteem for themselves in this life.
Rom 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.
In this passage, Paul says not to think of ourselves more highly than we ought. In the first passage I quoted, Paul told us we should esteem others better than ourselves. Thus, the logical conclusion is that we would be better off thinking of ourselves as being of less worth than others. Paul indicates in later verses in this chapter in Romans that even the gifts we have were given to us for building up others in Christ.
1 Ti :7 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.
8 And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.
9 But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.
10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
11 But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.
12 Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.
All we are to be concerned with are food and clothes. He says, the rest is a snare and that we should flee worldly desires. Instead of fleshly desires, he tells us we should follow after the fruits of the spirit. We are to achieve the eternal through doing works of faith. Works of faith means trusting in God to do works through us. How then does self-esteem fit this instruction for Christians? It does not.
Mar 8:34 And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
35 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it.
36 For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?
What does Jesus mean we should deny ourselves and follow Him? That implies that we should not be the object of importance. If we are not the object of importance and Jesus is, we are not esteeming self, we are esteeming Him.
Gal 5:25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
26 Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.
Again, Paul talks about not seeking after “vain glory” This sounds a little too much like those desiring more self-esteem to me.
These few scriptures that speak against elevating self are only the tip of the iceberg. The truth is that there is not a verse in scripture that indicates that man should be seeking more self-esteem or self-worth in the flesh. On the contrary, scripture indicates that man in the flesh is evil and worthless and a worm. Without God's indwelling Spirit man is depraved and he has no worth. Scripture teaches us to esteem God, not ourselves, because we are not worthy of esteem outside of Christ. We esteem those in the body of Christ because they are part of the new creation of God that have been made worthy by the work of Jesus.
God does not esteem the unregenerate man of flesh, contrary to what some popular authors teach. You see, God actually can take his eyes off of you if you are dead in your sins and not one of His own. He can in spite of the claim made by Reverend Dr. Feel Good that “God cannot take his eyes off of you” and all other such drivel that is taught by those on the pop psychology higher self-esteem bandwagon.
The Bible makes it clear that we are all dead in our sins without Christ and that God shows no partiality to any man. The promise of salvation is to whomsoever will believe and esteem His Son. It is not to those who highly esteem themselves.
Luke 18:14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.
An analysis of self-esteem
Let us look at what low self-esteem really is and is not so we can understand what this higher self-esteem we are told to seek by the psychologists really is. Paul said there is not a man alive who does not love his flesh and cherish it. Therefore, that should lay to rest for Christians any idea that anyone really hates himself. All humanity is born with a sense of high self-esteem that mankind can never live up to without Christ.
Eph 5:29 For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:
Consequently, since everyone loves themselves, there really is no low self-esteem in mankind. You might ask then, why do people kill themselves and get down on themselves? They do it for many selfish reasons. One prime reason is revenge. Many who kill themselves do it to get back at those who did not esteem them like they thought they should be esteemed. Thus, they must have thought of themselves pretty highly or they would not have cared. This loss of face in their own mind probably came through some real or perceived form of rejection from someone they highly esteemed. They simply could not face the thought that someone whose esteem mattered to them did not think as high of them as they felt they deserved. Many times, they kill themselves with the motive of making the targeted person or persons feel at fault and sorry for driving such a valuable person such as their self to self destruction. They wish to bring down the esteem of the people who did not value them and this is the only way they feel it can be achieved. These become frustrated and/or vindictive because they could not get the esteem they think they deserve or think they must have to continue to live as a member of the human race.
Another motivation for killing themselves might be they believe they are too good for this world and are worthy of a better life and they think death is the shortcut to the life they really deserve. No one with true low self-esteem would kill himself or herself over esteem because they would be quite content. Those with true low self-esteem would believe they are actually getting more in life then they believe they deserve.
Others kill themselves for other reasons, which have nothing to do with self-esteem at all. For example, the sick that are in chronic pain and those with chemical imbalances in their brain.
Those who get down on themselves also do not have low self-esteem. The opposite is true. They are not happy with themselves because they believe they deserve better than where they find themselves in life. This is because they have high esteem for themselves not low self-esteem. A person with low self-esteem would simply not care what others think of him or her. I have dogs with low self-esteem that just go on happy as a lark with no thought of what they could have been or what they should be. I also have a dog with high self-esteem. He likes to thrash the others to show them who is the head dog of the pack. If he ever lost his position I am sure he would be devastated and depressed.
There is the truth of the matter. Those seeking higher self-esteem are seeking to stay the head pack dog and if they do not get their way or if you stand in their way they will devour you. You heard of the cliché “it is a dog-eat-dog world”. Yes it is; because people desiring higher esteem for themselves make it that way. Those who do not get their high esteem and find themselves thrashed by bigger or more aggressive people go into depression or try to gain respect by violent means. Prime examples are intercity thugs and terrorists.
The desire for self-esteem is one of the root causes of depression. As proof, a direct correlation exists between this modern self-esteem craze and the huge rise in depression that has taken place in the developed world. This is less apparent in the third world because they are less likely to expect more of themselves than they can achieve. They generally do not read self help books.
Do not get me wrong - I am generalizing here about depression. Unrealized expectations is not the only cause of depression. There are many other causes. Some depression in the Christian is Godly because like Jeremiah, these people can see the end result of man's evil. Some depression in Christians leads people to total dependence on God. This is good. There are chemical imbalances in the brain that also cause depression. Volumes have been written on causes for depression. My point is that some depression is caused by a person's desire to be esteemed so highly that he cannot be satisfied.
What about those with anxiety disorders - don't they have them because they have low self-esteem?
We live in a world where all people are not equal. I already have said that those who have a problem with feeling inferior to someone else have it because they have high self-esteem, not low self-esteem. There is another fact of life that clouds the issue somewhat but also does not support the belief that higher self-esteem is needed. Some people are treated badly as children or persecuted by others through no fault of their own and they do suffer the effects. Using dogs as an example again, a dog that was beaten often by his owner because he liked to lay on a certain rug as a puppy will cower from people and avoid certain rugs for the rest of his life. This reaction really has little to do with self-esteem but it has everything to do with trust of humans and physiological reactions that have become established in the dog's brain and body. This dog will never truly trust humans and will be afraid of certain rugs. I have one dog that has high self-esteem but he is scared to death of balloons. Why? Because I once tied one on his tail and it chased him wherever he moved. It was a situation that was out of his control; he could not cope with it.
Likewise, people who have been traumatized in this world will not trust those situations or people that remind them of the perpetrators or situations identified with the trauma. If it was an authority figure, these people will not trust those in positions of authority. Even when no one is traumatizing them any longer they may still overreact to people or situations just as the dog does. This is because it is not just wrong thinking or a self-worth view that is causing their overreaction. They actually have neural paths established in their brain that when triggered, change brain chemistry and send automatic responses to organs such as the adrenal glands in their body.
The only way to change this is to establish new neural paths of trust in the brain to override the old paths of distrust. However, if the distrust paths are deeply established in the brain, nothing can really help these people other than some kind of coping therapy, medication, or a miracle healing from God. These people have anxiety disorders which is a chronic brain disease. In the examples I used, the dog and the people would have a form of post-traumatic stress disorder.
It is not correct or fair to say that low or high self-esteem caused the brain and physiological disorders in these people. This is why those who treat people with anxiety disorders with the concept that the patient has low self-esteem have never been proven successful. Yet, many still do it. They have never cured one patient with a chronic brain disorder by trying to raise the person's self-esteem. Those who believe this can be done should try it with a Parkinson's or Alzheimer's patient. The only success for those who have neural paths established and truly lack trust in people or certain situations will come from actually convincing these people that the people and the situations in the world are trustworthy. That is extremely hard to do in a fallen world where the worst sometimes happens and people continually prove that they are not trustworthy. It could be that the depressed and neurotic people of the world are saner than the blind optimists who think the world is just great and is heading toward utopia in spite of all the evidence to the contrary.
Wanting higher self-esteem correlates with the sin of pride
Again, let us look to the Bible for truth. Who was it that esteemed himself so much that he wanted to become like God and actually believes he deserves this position? The Bible makes it clear that this being is Lucifer and that his sin was pride. Hence, we now know who is at the root of this higher self-esteem mantra.
When Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit, they did it with the belief that they would become like God, knowing good and evil, because Satan told them they would. They were not satisfied with the state they were in; they wanted to be more than just human, they wanted to be like God. So mankind became just like the counterfeit god who gave them this suggestion. Since then nothing has changed with humankind. Even many of the modern psychological theories originate from someone who claims to have received them from their “spirit guide”. Should there be any wonder about who is the entity behind spirit guides?
High self-esteem and pride is very much the same thing. God does not have anything good to say about the pride of mankind. In fact, if I listed half of the scriptures to support this position, this article would be huge. The Bible tells us that pride was the sin of the Devil and that God hates the proud. Thanks to the high self-esteem of Satan and all who follow him in the world, the world that is esteeming itself over the will of God and is heading toward its ultimate destruction.
In the Bible, we also see a prime example of someone who was not highly esteemed in the flesh even though He was the Creator of the universe. He took no thought of himself in the flesh but only did what His Father told Him. In faith and obedience, He even went like a lowly lamb to the slaughter at the cross to pay for our sins (most of which come from the high esteem we have of ourselves).
Today, many in the world would say if Jesus had more self-esteem He would have taken Himself off the cross and showed the world His true self-worth. That is, "if he were truly the Son of God". This is the way the world thinks. It is the way the world thinks now and it was the way the world thought at Calvary when many were taunting Jesus to reveal his divine nature by coming off the cross. Human nature has not changed and cannot change. Jesus said you must be born from above to change. If Jesus had done what they asked, there could have been no salvation for anyone. Thanks to the low self-esteem of our Lamb Savior while in the form of a man, we can now enter the new creation that He spoke into existence when His body of flesh was cut off from His old creation. You see, this condemned creation could not hold the God who can speak new creations into existence. Christians are members of this new creation that came upon us by our trusting in the work of God's Son. Christians esteem Him and by doing so become highly esteemed in God's sight. This is the esteem we need to value - not self-esteem.
Now, knowing all this, should Christian teachers be spouting a gospel of higher self-esteem even to the unsaved? Or more important, should any true Christian be buying into what they are saying? Let's face it, this self-esteem mantra is just worldly philosophy that should have no place in the Church or in Christian thought.
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