We live in a secular world, and this world encourages us to look to ourselves to build up our own lives on our own steam. Just wander through a book store in the self-help section and see how many books there are to encourage us to look inside ourselves for our own power and increase our self esteem. But as Christians, we are to wholly lean on our Father and His power, not ours. “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.” (Romans 12:2-3) We can’t begin to fathom the Lord’s plans for our lives. “’For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the Lord. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.'” (Isaiah 55:8-9) I am sharing below a commentary from Dr. Harold Sala of Guidelines International about self-esteem. Enjoy!-Sheri
“Forget about self-esteem and concentrate more on self-control and discipline.” Do you agree or disagree with that advice? Frankly, the man who said that would have disagreed with the premise ten years ago, even five years ago. And who said that? Professor Roy Baumeister, a psychologist and author who heads the department of psychology at Florida State University.
How did Baumeister do an about face and change sides? If you had asked the doctor about the importance of self-esteem a few years ago, he would have told you that a lack of self-esteem likes at the root of all human suffering, failure, and evil. He says that when he began his research in 1973, psychologists everywhere were convinced that if people could only love and accept themselves more, “their problems would gradually vanish and their lives would flourish. They would even treat each other better.” Right!
That, of course, became the accepted dogma for nearly a generation. In a published article by Dr. Baumeister entitled, “The Lowdown on High Self-Esteem,” he wrote, “A generation—and many millions of dollars—later, it turns out we may have been mistaken.” He with several other recognized authorities were commissioned to work through the enormous amount of published studies related to self-esteem and human behavior. It resulted in a kind of evolution from one side of an issue to the other, and when he made that transition he began to see evil in a new light—something which cannot be eradicated by telling people they need to feel better about themselves.
“Here are some of our disappointing findings,” he wrote. “High self-esteem in schoolchildren does not produce better grades…. Self esteem doesn’t make adults perform better at their jobs, either. Sure, people with high self-esteem rate their own performance better—even declaring themselves smarter and more attractive than their low self-esteem peers—but neither objective tests nor impartial raters can detect any difference in the quality of their work.”
He also discovered that a lack of self-esteem is not the root cause for bullies or violence in gangs, or criminal behavior in general. Telling criminally minded toughs that they are wonderful and have great potential doesn’t turn their lives around.
He found that high self-esteem doesn’t stop youngsters from cheating, doing drugs, or experimenting with sex. If anything, kids with high-self esteem did that at an earlier age than their peers with low self-esteem. Telling students to shape up, work harder and start studying did more to raise grades than striving to build self-esteem.
Concluding the article, Dr. Baumeister wrote, “After all these years, I’m sorry to say, my recommendation is this: Forget about self-esteem and concentrate more on self-control and discipline.” (Roy Baumeister, “The Lowdown on High Self- Esteem,” Los Angeles Times, January 25, 2005, section B, 11).
And there you have it! Surprised? Many people were. A lot were not. Among those who weren’t surprised are those who understand something of man’s old nature and how God views the unregenerate person with no spiritual foundation. Seeing ourselves as God sees us, of course, is a two-fold issue. While he condemns man’s sinful nature, He saw humankind as worthy of redemption, which is why He sent His son to show us the way back to heaven.
Paul wrote that we ought not to “think of ourselves more highly than we ought to think,” showing us that none are beyond His reach or concern but none of us is good enough to come into His presence apart from what Jesus Christ did.
Sympathy and praise for an unruly child will never accomplish what discipline balanced with love and motivation will accomplish. Forget about self-esteem and concentrate on some old-fashioned concepts such as hard work, discipline, self-control, and integrity. The self-esteem issue will take care of itself.
Source: The Lowdown on High Self-Esteem