Pastor Steven Reyes
posted on February 12, 2017 20:00
John 13:34–35 — A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.
Do children and adults really need self-esteem? Does low self-esteem lead to serious life problems? Does the Bible encourage self-esteem? I say no.
The self-esteem movement has its most recent roots in clinical psychology, namely in the personality theories of such secular voices as Adler, Fromm, Maslow, and Rogers. Later it became popularized through educational institutions. But the roots of this ideology reach further back into human history.
The self-esteem movement began in the third chapter of Genesis. Initially Adam and Eve were God-conscious and aware of one another and their surroundings rather than being self-conscious. Their awareness of themselves was incidental and peripheral to their focus on God and one another. ‘Self’ did not become an issue until the Fall. They became aware that they were naked, and ran from God.
The truth is simply that the Bible presents an entirely different basis for love than humanistic psychology preaches. Rather than promoting self-love as the basis for loving others, the Bible says that God's love is the true source. God's love is self-giving. Therefore, when Jesus calls His disciples to deny self, He is calling them to a self-sacrificing love, not a self-satisfying love. Up until psychology’s heavy influence in the church, Christians generally thought of self-esteem as a sinful attitude.
Jesus didn’t say we would be known by our ability to love our selves, but in how we would love someone else. We are to take our eyes off ourselves and care for others. Christian maturity demands it. “…in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others” (Philippians 2:3–4). Anything less than this is vain—and falls short of the standard of Christ.
Love one another,
Pastors Steve & Deena