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Commentary on "Self-Esteem"



Day 1: Sabbath Afternoon, February 19, 2011 - Introduction



“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light” (1 Peter 2:9, NIV).

“Diminished self-esteem is a modern plague.” [Teacher’s Quarterly, Page 101]



This lesson makes several strong points regarding this issue of self-esteem. I really appreciate the author starting with 1 Peter 2:9. There is no better antidote to poor self-esteem than truth, and especially so when that truth involves a God-given statement of identity.

Who am I? Am I some average of looks, talents, learned skills and accomplishments weighted against the penalty paid for weaknesses and failures? The author does a nice job, especially in Saturday’s overview section, of laying out the problem and giving the beginnings of an answer.

My criticism of this week’s lesson is not this overview. Rather, it is in the lesson’s giving too much weight to psychological and behavioral approaches to the solution. The excellent points made regarding a proper self-image are diluted by suggestions for practicing positive affirmations with fellow church members, for example.

I believe the problem is not that we think so poorly of ourselves but that we think far too highly of ourselves. Every thought (and its accompanying emotion) of “I should do better” or “I’ll never amount to anything” or “I’m king of the world” is couched in a lie regarding indwelling sin and focused almost solely on me. I, I, I; me, me, me – this is what Satan wants us to think about.

Again, this lesson has some wonderful nuggets of truth regarding this issue. Again, the Seventh-day Adventist belief system, the core of which is the requirement to behave perfectly, negates the positives. I will attempt to point out both as the week progresses.



  1. The lesson makes some good points regarding what defines a proper self-image, and it describes the attacks against a proper self-image each of us face.
  2. Overall, there is too much reliance on behavior modification (i.e. if I do enough of these kinds of actions, then my feelings about myself and others will change) and not enough emphasis made on the clear statements made in the Bible regarding our identity in Christ.




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