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The Self-Esteem Engine That Couldn’t

Low self-esteem is characterized by a lack in confidence and general feeling bad about oneself. For years we have been going to psychology for the answer to low self-esteem and I do not observe things getting better. I see kids still being bullied. I see bullies grow into adults who bully. I see oversensitive kids turn to lifelong victims or lash out and become bullies themselves. I think it’s time to stop looking to the humanities for solutions. Let’s talk about it!

As an undersized kid with an oversized mouth, I know what it is like to be pushed around by someone bigger. I hated elementary school for a long time! I can tell you for a fact, that as someone who was bullied, I was well on the path to becoming a bully myself. My answer to the bully was to befriend a bigger bully! The problem I ran into is that it worked until the point that my big friend bullied me, too. At that point, I would make friends with a a bigger kid. If Juan was picking on me, I would make friends with Omar, and then Omar would take care of Juan for me. When Omar set in on me, I’d make friends with Charlie, and have Charlie even the score for me. When Charlie stared on me, I would move on the next big guy and sick him on Charlie. I learned a ton of people skills, and my plan was working!

Jesus wrecked those plans. He often does. Psychiatrists would say I had a self-esteem problem, but I am telling you that my self-esteem problem was actually a sin problem. I had been hurt and was using people to hurt the people who hurt me. Trust me when I say, I was ready to continue down that road of survival of the fittest. I had learned the cheat code for little guys to survive. One day, in the fourth grade, my low self-esteem ran head first into God’s sovereign grace.

The only solution to sin is Jesus. He took care of the real bully called sin. Sin ruins everything. It hurts people worst that any real life bully ever could. My sin was sending me to Hell. There was no blaming anybody else for my bad choices and I knew it. Jesus loved me so much that He would sacrifice Himself for my sin. Then not only would he take my nasty vengeful sin on Himself, but He would then give me His perfection. I still don’t understand why He would save this Hell bound sinner, but I sure am going to try to live a grateful life.

Jesus answer to self-esteem was the sermon on the mount.

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.

Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." -Matthew 5:3-10

I love what John Piper says about the subject: “The biblical antidote to low self-esteem is not high self-esteem; it is sovereign grace.” I am living proof. The solution to my problem could not be found within me. When I looked inside myself for a solution, I only found more sin problems. My train was headed in a bad direction, when Jesus hit the railroad switch that turned me around! I’m so glad He did.

Your favorite Church Planter

Mike Watt

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