The previous article in regards to self-esteem and the depravity of man, while meant to be read by all; there is one particular group of individuals that needs it more than others.
This group, wherein self-esteem is promoted (Such as Christian psychologists, secular psychologist, Christians in the self-help community, those in the “name it and claim it” prosperity gospel; and any others that promotes self, as opposed to the preeminence of Christ), has been sincerely deceived into believing that the lack of self-esteem is a problem within the soul that needs to be cured.
Yet the teaching concerning building of self-esteem does is not produce healthy esteem, it promotes self-justification and self-centeredness.
This is not to say that it is healthy for a person to completely hate themselves to the point of seeking self-harm, or any other form of compulsive concentration wherein the focus is on self is also a form of pride. Pride is not the problem of self; it’s the problem of maintaining the focus on self.
Pride is most accurately defined as the obsession of primarily focusing on self, and can be seen either in self grandeur, or self-loathing; both concentrate on self.
What the self-esteem movement attempts to do, based upon its own precepts; is to build up a person who was wounded concerning their own sense of worth.
However, the way they attempt to do this is incorrect, they attempt to validate the person.
Our worth should be based upon what God has declared is worthy within us, and pride is not it.
What the Lord values is a sense of humility within every individual.
A person does not get self-esteem from others trying to convince them of their self-worth, or value.
While it is good to tell people that they are acting good when they do so, or that they are blessed in certain ways, self-esteem comes from self, not others.
A person who comes to God on their knees, rather motivated by self-intersection, others that point out their wrongs, or someone trusted that abuses them by putting them down in an unloving, even sinister manner; the result is the same, the person is where they need to be before God, on their knees.
Where people can help them in understanding those that of abuse them, is in pointing out God’s perspective on the matter, what He values and what he values in the person, and what is their sense of worth is to be based upon – not based upon self and what self thinks or does – but based upon God’s Word come concerning self.
To the Afflicted
Those that know they’re sinners – to those that have not accepted Christ you – to those that feel unworthy, Christ says this:
“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30 ~ KJV)
To the Comfortable
To those that rationalize their sin – claim to be good Christians – feel that they are a benefit to God in his kingdom, Christ says this:
“Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. 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.” (Luke 18:10-14 ~ KJV)
The previous passage by Jesus indicates is that basically there are “Two Types of People”
There is an extra biblical expression concerning God:
“God comforts the afflicted, and afflicts the comforted”
This is reminiscent of many of Jesus parables concerning polar opposites when it comes to humanity and pride. Such as:
“And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with him and his disciples. And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto his disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners? But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” (Matthew 9:10-13 ~ KJV)
The great biblical scholar Barclay said,
In life we meet two kinds of people. We meet those who have no faults at which the finger may be pointed; they are moral, orthodox, and supremely respectable; but they are hard and austere and unable to understand why others make mistakes and fall into sin. We also meet those who have all kinds of faults; but they are kind and sympathetic and they seldom or never condemn. It is the second kind of person to whom the heart more readily warms; and in all reverence we may say that it is so with God. He will forgive much to the man who loves his fellow-men.
The words of Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit when he stated:
“The sins of some men are quite evident, going before them to judgment; for others, their sins follow after.” (1 Timothy 5:24)
The conclusion of this matter is not that of rationalizing sin, nor in categorizing greater or lesser transgressions (The teaching within the church that all sin is the same to God is seen in the Greek word which is a basis for the English word “sin,” hamartia [G266], which simply means: “to miss the mark.” It is actually an archery term wherein the bull’s-eye, which is the size of the arrow, centered in the target; wherein to not perfectly shoot the arrow into the bull’s-eye, is to miss the mark. And anything outside the mark has no significance or value. Either you make it, or you don’t; there’s no almost, there’s no getting any points one outside the bull’s-eye. This is the idea of what sin is. It is anything that is not perfection. Hence the teaching in the church that all sin is the same to God, yet that is not accurate either. For we find within God’s Word that certain things – sins He hates [Isa. 61:8; Jerm. 44:4; Amos 5:21; Zec. 8:17; Rev. 2:15], and some are an abomination [Lev. 18:22; 20:13; Deu. 7:25, 26; 17:1; 18:12; Prov. 3:32; 6:16] to Him, and God is not unjust to punish a simple lie, the same as a despicable murder. Yet the point of the word hamartia is that there is no way that man can stand before God, that every one of his sins, even what we would refer to a small sin still makes him incapable of standing in God’s presence.) ; but in understanding human nature from God’s point of view.
It is our presuppositions that exemplify the amount of pride that an individual nourishes within their own life, or the amount of humility which we carry.
When one is appropriately critical of their own motivations, able to cut through their own denial; and see themselves as terrible sinners, this is the humility that Christ longs for in order to have a relationship with them.
It is not that some sin more or some sin less, it is man that judges the brevity of the sin.
It is that there are some that are aware of their sin with greater sensitivity, while others rationalize themselves by pointing out those who sins run out before them. We need to remember what Jesus said:
“There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty. And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most? Simon answered and said, I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most. And he said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged. And he turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, Seest thou this woman? I entered into thine house, thou gavest me no water for my feet: but she hath washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head. Thou gavest me no kiss: but this woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss my feet. My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment. Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little.” (Luke 7:41-47 ~ KJV)