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The Problem with Self-Esteem

God offers a better way.
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God has no illusions.

He is our Creator; he doesn’t admire or look up to us. In fact, he knows better than we do how much we fall short of perfection. That means we have nothing to prove. We are free to acknowledge the truth about ourselves, as well, without believing it makes us worthless (Psalm 103:13–14).

God cares about what matters.

He isn’t interested in how good-looking, charming, talented, or successful we are. We don’t need to live up to any preconceived notions of what it means to be good enough. He is interested in what is in our hearts and whether we are receptive to his transformation (1 Samuel 16:7).

God identifies with us.

He does not tell us we are the only ones, our failures isolate us, or we deserve to be alone. Instead, Jesus acts as a high priest who knows exactly what it means to be human and empathizes with us in our weaknesses (Hebrews 4:15).

God does not play favorites.

In the body of Christ, everyone has a gift to offer and a role to play. We cannot say anyone is more important than anyone else because ultimately it’s not about us—it’s about what God does in and through us (Romans 12:3 8). That means our comparisons are meaningless.

God offers undeserved compassion.

God loves us and cares for us, even though we don’t deserve what he offers. Self-esteem says I have to deserve love; Jesus gave it to us regardless of the fact that we didn’t earn or even ask for it (Romans 5:8).

Beyond Compassion

God is the author of compassion. His compassion is great news, and it absolutely transforms life for those of us who recognize when they have received it. But God goes way beyond simply showing compassion for us. He gives us grace.

Compassion cares for us and wants to rescue us in our distress. Grace makes rescue possible.

Compassion enters our suffering. Grace ends it.

Compassion sees the value in each of us. Grace transforms us.

God’s grace is available to transform us into people full of compassion—not only for others, but for ourselves as well. God’s view of us is not dependent on elevating us above others, nor does he have to overlook our faults in order to love us. He offers us not only compassion and love, but grace. And when we view ourselves through the lens of grace, we welcome the transformation that makes us into gracious people.

Amy Simpson is a life and leadership coach, a popular speaker, and the award-winning author of Troubled Minds: Mental Illness and the Church’s Mission and Anxious: Choosing Faith in a World of Worry (both InterVarsity Press). You can find her at AmySimpsonOnline.com, on Facebook, on LinkedIn, and on Twitter @aresimpson.

December05, 2016 at 8:00 AM

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