Commentary on "Self-Esteem"
Day 7: Friday, February 25, 2011 - Further Study
“Read Romans 12:2, 3 in the light of these texts to gain understanding into attaining a balanced self-concept.” (Teacher’s Quarterly, Page 112)
At least this author is explicit in his beliefs. Here we have an exhortation to read the Bible “in the light” of two EGW quotes in order “to gain understanding.” This is why Adventism is so often seen as cultish by those outside the church. The Bible, and the Bible alone, is the light. The Bible, and the Bible alone, is the plumb line against which we judge our beliefs.
This admission by the author exposes the falsehood of the entire week’s lesson. Yes, he made some good points and properly explained truth, but it turns out that he raises Ellen White to equal, or even superior, status with the Bible. Therefore, if the Bible disagrees with Ellen White, Ellen White is accepted as truth. This negates everything.
As I wrote at the beginning, this lesson has much to offer. There are several good analyses of the problem. Where the lesson is inadequate is in its use of behavior based remedies for what is fundamentally a spiritual problem.
There is no basis for a proper self-image in anything I see in myself or anything others see in me. Humans are variable. Our opinions of ourselves and others (and the corresponding names those opinions engender) are pure whimsy. I might think of you as a perfectly fine fellow one moment but as a scoundrel the next. If I choose to believe what I think about myself or what I think you think about me, then I will be in for a very rough ride. Who’s right? Which time? What can I do about it? What if I do the wrong thing?
By contrast, if I accept what God says about me in light of His overwhelming love and grace, then I know I’m dealing with absolute, unchangeable truth. This provides the only foundation for a meaningful and proper self-concept. It will not be subject to the vagaries of human nature. It will withstand the most outrageous name-calling, the outright lies and the shame that so naturally results from human failings. It will withstand these not because some other person treats me with respect, although I praise God for such kindness, but because the very Spirit of God continually witnesses to me that I have eternal life (1 John 5:10-11) and that nothing will ever separate me from His love (Romans 8:35-39).
The certainty of such a Spirit-declared self-concept also allows me to treat others with the same love with which I’ve been loved. We simply cannot love each other with agape love. It is beyond us. But by the grace of God (the indwelling Spirit), I can treat you with love and respect, not because of anything you do for me or because of your skills and abilities, but simply because the same God Who loves me loves you. He has declared us as brothers and sisters in Christ. What can we do except throw away all the false notions of human value as we come together as one in Him!
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