The idea that self-esteem is an essential part of a healthy personality is now virtually institutionalized in American culture... The entire educational structure, especially at the elementary level, takes self-esteem as a basic imperative for the educational process. Now, a team of researchers has taken a closer look at the idea that self-esteem is a crucial factor in personal happiness, achievement, and behavior. Their research conclusively destroys the self-esteem myth and demonstrates that the nation’s obsession with self-esteem was never based on science in the first place.
(“The Myth of Self-Esteem,” published February 8, 2005 at www.albertmohler.com)The question for us is this: Has this myth also crept into our classrooms and homes? Has our philosophy of children's ministry and the methods we use been shaped by the self-esteem movement? Or are we grounding ourselves and our children in a biblical understanding of "self"? As a starting point, here are a few basic biblical truths and implications to pass on to our children:
- We have been created by God in His image. (Genesis 1:26-27) Our worth is determined by God and is not self-derived.
- We are totally dependent on God for everything. (Acts 17:25; 1 Corinthians 4:7b) Any intelligence, talents, physical attributes, and abilities we have are ultimately from God.
- We have been created to glorify God. (1 Corinthians 10:31) God is of infinite worth. We have not been created for self-admiration, but for worshipping God.
- We have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23) By nature, we tend to put ourselves at the center of the universe instead of God. We tend to think more highly of ourselves than we ought.
- We deserve God's condemnation. (Romans 6:23a). This problem cannot be solved through any kind of self-improvement efforts, or by simply thinking positive thoughts about ourselves. We are helpless. Only God can solve the problem.
- Jesus died to save sinners from God's condemnation so that we might have a "new self." (Romans 5:6-8; 2 Corinthians 5:17) Only through Christ can we rightly see and live in a way that glorifies God. Through Christ we experience a "new self" as we are united with Him.
- Our "new self" in Christ is characterized by the following: • Jesus lives in me. • I am a loved child of God. • God has given me the righteousness of Jesus. • God is for me. • God has prepared good works for me to do. • I can do all things through Christ's strength. • In Jesus, I can have fullness of joy.