God And Self-Esteem, Part 1

To state the obvious up front, God does not have a problem with self-esteem! We, however, are another matter…. Because the world is full of imperfect people, we are all treated badly at some point. Depending on several factors such as when and how often we were mistreated, and whether we received love to counteract the effect of it, all help to determine how well or poorly we think of ourselves. That is our self-esteem.

Yes this is blurry. On a good day, this is how most of us see ourselves. "though a glass dimly," as Paul said.

Yes this is blurry. On a good day, this is how most of us see ourselves. “though a glass dimly,” as Paul said.

There are lots of ways to improve our self-esteem. I am a fan of some ways and not of others. For example, when children in school get away with thinking 1+1 =11, or anything besides 2, I am not a fan. There are facts and truth. (I plan to approach these subjects in another post in the future.)

My favorite way to improve self-esteem is to approach it from the perspective of our Creator.  We are all created in the image of God. There are no two people completely alike. The one who made us is so vast and creative that he never runs out of variations of humans. Each of us reflects God to others in unique ways.

This is a better representation of how our Creator sees us.

This is a better representation of how our Creator sees us.

Our problem is that we do not know how valuable that makes us. We do not focus on the beauty, but on the things that are not right. Humans are the only living things made in God’s image. When we read the Bible we learn we are priests and kings! Rev. 5:10 We are on this planet to rule and to reign over the earth as God’s representatives. Think about that for a  moment. You are a priest and a king in God’s eyes! I don’t know about you, but that makes me want to sit up straight, stand a little taller and smile at the world around me.

Just imagine what the world would be like if we all went around believing that and treating each other like priests and royalty!

I do not mean dictators who are over bearing, greedy and abuse authority! I mean people who know they are special and it is their job to help others. Better yet they have the resources to make other people’s lives better. That might mean physical resources, but more often it means honoring, respecting, loving and forgiving.

This all begins at home. In me. In each of us. And I suspect it comes in the opposite order I just listed them.

First we forgive ourselves, specifically. I need to forgive myself for continuing to treat myself and others poorly, because I did not know another way, or I forgot (or perhaps I was intentionally mean, reacting from a wounded place in me.)

Sometimes we need to forgive God. Not because he did anything wrong, but in our twisted minds, we think He did… So we let go and thank God that He knows better.

Then there is the need to forgive others who have wronged us. (Another post for a more in-depth treatment of forgiving.) We let go of the offense and the offender. We know we have forgiven when we can genuinely bless the other.

We begin to grow in loving ourselves and others as we grow in understanding of who God created us to be and how he empowers us to love God and “our neighbors as ourselves.”

Respect an honor are degrees of the same thing. A synonym for respect is esteem. As we begin to understand how much God loves and respects us, we begin to grow the capacity to:

Receive the love God has for us “for God so loved the world….” John 3:16;

Love God back “we love because he first loved us.” 1 John 4:19. Jesus said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself” Matt 22:37-39.

We will be able to fulfill both commandments better day after day as we give God permission to teach us, heal us and grow us into the people He intended us to become.

Honor is a higher level of respect. Honor is not worship. We reserve worship for the triune God alone. We grow in the process of honoring when we begin to follow the Apostle Paul’s advice: “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.” Phil 2:3 When we understand  every person carries the same weight of glory honor becomes possible. We begin to look for it in every person.

So how’s your self-esteem? If you are like me, there are good days (moments) and not so good. Do you know how your Creator sees you?

Abba, We are wounded people who live in a fallen world. Yet you see us as priests and kings. You created the world and put us in charge. Forgive me Lord, of not believing and remembering the value you have placed in every person, including me. Thank you for forgiving me and loving me no matter what! I pray that truth transforms how I see myself and others. Give me eyes to see me as you see me! Fill me to overflowing so I can experience your love and encourage everyone I come in contact with.  


Andrea (Madden) Van Boven : I like to think I am a radical lover of Jesus, but I live in a house and pay bills and look like I fit in with respectable society, like most people. What goes on in my head and heart are hopefully the things that betray the look of "normal" that comes at first glance. I hope those things inside of me seep out to actions as well as words of hope and encouragement. I pray that these in turn will lead others to know the loving creator who knows us so intimately that he has a number for every hair on every head.

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