This is a question which I was asked to answer, in the psychology class I am taking, for school (which, by the way, is absolutely amazing. If you are a Christian homeschooler who is interested in taking psychology, but from a teacher with a Christian worldview, then this is the class for you! It’s just Psychology: A Christian Perspective, by Tim Rice. 🙂 ), and I wanted to share my thoughts which I had on this, with you.
Personally, I think it is very important for a person, especially Christians, to build up good, healthy self esteem. Not to the point of boastfulness in yourself, but not having enough of it, that you are self-degrading and self-pitiful of yourself. This is something which I have struggled with on a personal level….Figuring out the balance of (1). having enough self esteem so that I’m not depressed and shaming myself for really no reason, and of (2). Getting above that self-pity-ment and depression, but being far too prideful and boastful.
So. This is what I have realized, after lots of prayer, thought and Bible-reading….
First, we are not called to be self-degrading and take pity upon ourselves. For several reasons…But the biggest of all (and most important, in my opinion), is that we have absolutely no right to. We are absolutely nothing, and God is absolutely everything. We have no reason or right to take pity upon ourselves, when He has done so, so much for us and given us more than we ever deserved.
Oswald Chambers once wisely said:
“Beware of allowing self-consciousness to continue because by slow degrees it will awaken self-pity, and self-pity is satanic.”
When we look at the Bible, we see that, in our times of distress, we are not supposed to go to ourselves, but to God.
Psalm 43:5 says:
“Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
my salvation and my God.”
1 Peter 5:6-7:
“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.”
and finally, 1 Peter 4:12-13:
“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.”
So, we’ve gotten on with the self-pity part. Now for the boasting…
2 Corinthians 11:30 says:
“If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness”,
and 2 Corinthians 12:5 says:
“On behalf of this man I will boast, but on my own behalf I will not boast, except of my weakness.”
We are unworthy to boast of anything, but God. As I said, earlier….We are absolutely nothing, and He is absolutely everything.
So, yes. Christians need to have high self esteem, so that they do not fall prey to the lies of self pity and depression. But when we are tempted to boast of our own doing, we need to constantly remind ourselves that nothing good we have done, was apart from God. We need to give credit, where credit is due.
And those, my friends, are my thoughts. I’m sorry for how long it is; I am the type of person that has to ramble and write out a lot, to make my point. And so, there it is.