Skip to comments.The Church Shouldn’t Promote Self-Esteem
Posted on 08/20/2013 7:49:35 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
The First Baptist Church in Beckley, West Virgina, organized a conference to help young girls build self-esteem in defiance of a beauty culture which fixates upon superficial features. The Register-Herald reports:
Contemporary Christian musical artist Karen Spurlock will be leading worship at the event.
Having three girls of my own, I am very aware of how early little girls begin to evaluate themselves and others in superficial ways, said Carrico. It occurred to me that so many women suffer daily by comparing themselves to others, and it all starts between the ages of five and 10.
Part of the reason girls are so imprisoned by the beauty culture, Carrico said, is that they mistakenly equate being pretty with their self-worth.
One goal of the Christian-based conference is to assure girls that beauty is not in the eye of the beholder but in the eye of the Creator, Carrico said.
The only way to help girls see past all this is to teach them that pretty is fine, thats awesome, but its not beauty, she said. Their belly may not be completely flat today, or ever, and thats OK, because God created us in His image, so…deal with it, youre perfect.
Certainly, girls and young women ought to be encouraged to look beyond the superficial. That said, should any self-evaluation result in the conclusion that you are perfect?
Promoting self-esteem has become a primary goal of education and community activities involving children. The now cliché participation trophy stands as a hallmark example. Adults teach children to feel good about themselves not due to cited merit, but as a means to spite the evaluations of popular culture. However, unearned pride can be just as destructive as a lack of confidence. Rather than teach children to err on one side to spite the other, we ought to encourage honest evaluations based on objective criteria which help guide efforts at improvement.
In dealing with my four-year-old son, I have come to recognize his abundance of self-esteem. Like most people at any age, he evaluates himself with remarkable leniency. My task as his father is to rein in his sense of self-worth and temper it with discipline, not to stagnate his growth with constant affirmation of his alleged perfection.
We may benefit greatly from consideration of the important difference between confidence building and self-esteem. I want my son to be confident of his abilities as they develop. Like all of us, he needs to believe in his own ability before he can perform. We build such confidence through instruction, coaching, and practice. Currently, hes going through swimming lessons which test the limits of his trust. Getting back in the water over and over again, incrementally demonstrating that he can first survive and maybe even have fun, has been key. But the ability to swim says nothing of a persons worth. Feeling confident in ones abilities or secure in ones rights should not equate to an evaluation of worth, especially from a Christian perspective.
Missing from The Register-Heralds coverage of the church conference for girls is any mention of sin, holiness, or redemption. Any critique of the beauty culture remains incomplete without considering these vital topics. Sure, God created us in his image. But that hardly means were perfect. The same scriptures which reveal that we were created in Gods image also say we fell from that state of perfection into sin. That should have an appropriately devastating effect upon our self-esteem. Rather than counter the beauty culture with false claims of perfection, we should counter it with the revelation of our wretchedness. The churchs message to the girls of Beckley, West Virginia, ought to be, no matter how attractive the most popular girl in school may be, she stands unworthy under the judgment of Holy God. The focus then shifts from an irrational and futile attempt to boost self-esteem to the eternally important consideration of the salvation offered by Jesus Christ. The beauty culture stands as a manifestation of idolatry, and cannot be combated without focusing worship back where it belongs.
Self-esteem, as defined by the current liberal paradigm, is vanity. Hard work is its own reward.
Very good post! This world is filled with self esteem, to the point that nobody considers anybody above themselves. This is a direct departure from Scriptural teaching.
Amen! I get so tired of hearing this self esteem crap from the pulpit, and that “must learn to love oneself in order to love others” BS
It makes me crazy when Sunday school turns into a circle jerk of new age psychiatry.
The most level ground there is is found at the foot of the Cross. Those who stand there are remarkably uninterested in the relative status of those standing there with them.
I am sure that most of the people leading these things are Christians & well meaning. However, the problem I have with most churches these says it they preach God loves you, and that’s it. Just as the author wrote, there isn’t talk of sin, confession, grace, redemption, and Gods Holy perfectness. It’s just not a complete message.
My wife found this excellent video by Dove that she will be using in our Teen ministry classes. Worth a look.
Anyone who thinks they have come to the cross with a boatload of self-esteem probably hasn’t come to the cross.
John Piper said it pretty well: “...our problem is not lack of self-esteem, it is a lack of GOD esteem...”
I am not saying that your post refelcts what my comment. What I get tired of hearing is that Baptists, of which I am one, do not get the the full message. Every sermon from my Pastor reflects every part of the the message.
Pseudo-self-esteem is an irrational pretense at self-value and is a neurotic device to diminish anxiety and provide a spurious sense of security - to assuage a man's need of authentic self esteem while allowing the real causes of its lack to be evaded.
Oh, you are saying that baptists are being accused of not getting the full message.
I honestly can say that the only problem I have with some Baptists is the, “If it aint King James, it aint Bible” mentality.
Gods word will be preserved and it’s foolish to think a translation written so long ago, that I was handed a translation guide from a Baptist to understand the old words, is somehow better than ESV, which I use.
I know good Baptist churches and I know bad ones, just like the rest of the denominations.
The KJV was the ESV of its day.
Some people just don’t get it that the KJV was written in everyday English.
Yes indeed. Frankly, I find that people who claim the KJV is the only correct version are mostly angry spiteful people. There are some exceptions, but they are the Pharisees of the modern era. Holding to that version is an idol to them and they can’t or won’t even see it.
“Yes indeed. Frankly, I find that people who claim the KJV is the only correct version are mostly angry spiteful people. There are some exceptions, but they are the Pharisees of the modern era. Holding to that version is an idol to them and they cant or wont even see it.”
Wow, really? For the record, I’m not Baptist, I don’t idolize the KJV and I don’t claim it is the only correct version. However, since my studies on the origins of English bible translations, I have come to appreciate it over most. Learning an archaic language is a stumbling block for many, but I realized that a far more important consideration is the version of the underlying ancient texts, as well as the methods and motives of the translation process. Many modern translations are based on the earlier work of Westcott and Hort. Ever hear of them? They were alleged atheists and by their own admission, thought the biblical texts were corrupt and needed correcting. There is a wealth of information on the Internet about them if you care to weigh the evidence, pro and con. If you compare familiar verses in many translations, you will discover some substantial variations of meaning. I think many people are unaware of this or unsure how to discern a good translation. God’s Word will endure to the end of time as promised, but there is no question that evil people have always tried to twist, corrupt or destroy it. Would you expect otherwise?
Back on topic to this thread, a little self-esteem isn’t a bad thing. There is a difference between self-esteem and vanity. I have known abused women that permitted the abuse to continue because they had no self-esteem. Their men told them they were ugly or useless, and they believed it and endured it for years. They should have been taught as children that as God’s creation, they have worth and should not tolerate such abuse.
Yes really. I’ve met plenty of good people. But many “good people” as well that as soon as I gently told them I disagreed with the KJV only, looked at me as if I was insane, and either yelled at me, or ended the conversation. I know and have read and have researched about version myself. Probably not as in depth as you have.
To think that the Word of God cannot survive anything past the KJV is foolish, and is an idol. It’s a stumbling block, and a wedge between a person and God.