Finding God's Winning Spirit

Low Self-Esteem Christian: A Contradiction of Terms

May 12, 2014 | Greg Smith | Christianity

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I am often asked, “What is the most common problem that brings people to therapy”?  For me, the answer is easy; it is poor self-esteem. Those individuals that suffer from a poor self- concept live a difficult life. These people often make poor decisions, tend to be victimized in relationships, and are run over in the workplace.  They are plagued with a negative view of self – and therefore the world.

The difficult thing about poor-self esteem is it is easily masked and can be misdiagnosed as anxiety, a personality disorder, depression, and so on. Once a person gives up on himself or herself, the world closes in. Many times, as clinicians with low self-esteem clients, we start by trying to find out when and what happened to these folks that made them start giving up on themselves. This quest usually starts with questions like, what was their childhood like, did they ever really feel loved, and was there some sort of abuse, etc.?

This is typically is a long and hard therapeutic road, which many times is fruitless. One of the most difficult things to do is help a person change or improve his or her sense of value or self-worth. One thing is for sure; this sense of self-loathing does not lend itself to living the “Spirit filled life”.

Those individuals who feel inferior are always seeking validation form others. Their self-worth rests on the interactions of others instead of themselves. This, as you can imagine, creates anxiety and affects their interactions and relationships. Each day they enter the world with the question of personal value up for grabs. Going through life hoping someone or something will make them feel valuable is most often unsuccessful, which reinforces their original self-concept, unworthiness.

Christians, living under the justification of Christ, should not struggle with low self-esteem, if they are living theologically. In Rom 8:31 we are told, “If God loves us who cares what others think.” Now I know that this is taking some liberties with Paul’s message but it is basically true. I mean if God likes me then who else do I need to impress? It sure doesn’t work the other way around; please everyone else and not care what God thinks.

Once again it comes down to the question, “Do we really believe what we say we believe?” The Christian who struggles with poor self-esteem needs to study the doctrine of justification. Justification means that God’s law has been fulfilled and through Christ God has reconciled the world to Himself. Some Christians still think that justification is works based not grace based. They use their own insecure view of life as a model for their theology.Their view of life says that they have to earn their value from others and therefore must earn their value from God. As we have already shown, this is backwards. Justification is by grace through faith resulting in works not works first, resulting in justification. The interesting thing about sin is that it makes us all equal – the same thing is true when it comes to justification; we all receive it because of God’s grace (Phil 3:9).

When I have a Christian client sitting in front of me who is being emotionally abused by a spouse or manipulated at work by their boss; I ask them to explain to me their view of justification. Most often than not, they don’t have one. It is vital that we live our lives out of what we believe; not take life as it comes and then use it to shape what we believe. If I start the day with the conviction that “God so loved me that He gave His only begotten Son,” then I am living theologically. If I start the day feeling inferior our insignificant then I am not.

Thank again. We need be sure in God.
Posted by Tomas Bolaño on
And now I get truth for free! great word and right on my friend! keep up the good work!
Posted by Chuck Adams on
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