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The Power of Low Self-Esteem

January 4th, 2018

Admit the Truth: God Already Knows it

The more time passes, the more I learn about how I screwed my life up.

I suppose that sounds negative, but it’s not. When you don’t know a problem exists, you don’t try to fix it. Worse, you may think it’s a blessing. You may try to strengthen it. When God shows me what’s wrong with me, it can only mean one of two things: 1) there is no hope for change, so he wants to condemn me; or 2) he is showing me so I can be transformed and repaired. Because God has not given up on me, I know the answer is 2), so his criticism is a huge blessing.

God teaches us not to believe in ourselves or in other people. He teaches us we are weak and dirty. He teaches us we can’t accomplish much. This is the complete opposite of what the world (including many Christian teachers) teaches us. The world tells us self-esteem is a panacea. It tells us we can do anything as long as we believe in ourselves and never give up. It tells us not to beat ourselves up. It says, “Bad things happen to good people,” which is an obscene lie.

The world teaches us egotism and denial. Only a small percentage of people get God’s help in any degree of fullness, and because so few of us get divine help, we are taught that it doesn’t exist. We are told God helps those who help themselves. We are told to believe in ourselves and pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps. In a way, it makes sense. If you can’t figure out how to work a car’s ignition, you walk everywhere. If you can’t figure out how to work power tools, you use hand tools that break down your body and get little done. You use the best tools and weapons you can find. If you can’t find God, self-esteem and hard work look pretty good. They can’t compare to God’s help, but they do produce some results.

The Bible is nothing like self-help teaching. It says, “Lean not unto thine own understanding.” It says, “Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit.” God sentenced Moses to die outside of Israel because he used a stick to do something God wanted to do with a miracle. Anthony Robbins and Richard Simmons tell you you can. God tells you you can’t. God says you are bad, weak, and small. And God is right.

The last two churches I belonged to taught people God would fix all their problems if they had faith and gave the preachers money. That’s more or less the sum of it. Trinity Church in Miami was worse than the other church. They refused to say anything negative about any type of behavior, except briefly and without sincerity. Gay boys on the worship team? No problem. Pregnant girls singing on stage? Fine. They were so blind, they let Richie Wilkerson do a video in drag. Richie did a promotion based on the filthy movie The Hangover, which would seem to suggest that he and the other people involved went to see it. It made it seem as though they approved of it.

Trinity had two slogans, and one was, “We’re gonna win.” Not, “God will give us victory.” Just, “We’re gonna win.” They encouraged people to live however they wanted, as long as they showed up, gave money, provided free work, and refrained from saying anything negative.

People at Trinity didn’t do well. They died young. They stayed poor while their preachers lived in luxury. They went to prison. No wonder. They were walking in circles in the wilderness, and the preachers had them convinced they were in the promised land.

Trinity and New Dawn Ministries did nothing to help me confront my iniquities. God had to teach me about it directly. That’s sad. People are supposed to pass knowledge and wisdom on to each other, so each generation doesn’t have to start from scratch. If your church doesn’t teach you, who will? You better hope God speaks to you.

I discovered the false gospel of self-esteem when I was a teenager. I had very low self-esteem, which is painful, so when I felt the positive sensation of increased self-esteem, and I saw how much easier it made my life, I thought I was onto something. I pursued it. I never developed great self-esteem, but I did develop a strong pattern of denial and an inability to perceive my faults clearly.

Because I lived in denial, I was able to sink further into sin. I became jaded. Things that should have disturbed me didn’t bother me. I participated in things I should have avoided. Over time, I wrapped chains around myself, and they got too thick for me to resist in any way.

About 10 years ago, I started to realize I had messed up, but even with God’s help, things that are built up slowly may take a long time to deconstruct. I tried and tried to confess and be honest with God, but my vision wasn’t good, so even when I looked for things to confess, I didn’t do a good job.

One of my problems is that I have been surrounded by vexatious people. More generally, I have been surrounded by people who tempt me. A vexatious person tempts you to be angry and strike back, just as a slutty woman tempts you to sin sexually. It’s all temptation of one kind or another. When I started to work to improve, it was very hard for me to feel anything but anger for the people who worked against God in my life. It was like being stung by clouds of flies. without rest. This is why I’m so glad to be out of Miami. Miami is full of obnoxious people and temptation.

I found it very hard to feel any warmth for those who were against me and against God. The pain and stress they caused me made it difficult to have any positive feelings about them. It’s hard enough to love people when they’re behaving. Loving them while they’re still driving the nails in is impossible without God’s help.

I’m not completely stupid. For years, I’ve been praying for God to help me love my enemies. The change hasn’t been instaneous, and I am not strong enough on my own to force it.

Yesterday I had issues with someone who tempts me. I woke up during the night and thought about it. I tried to put myself in this person’s shoes. I realized some things.

People who live in sin as a lifestyle, without remorse, are to be pitied. They never feel God’s love. They don’t know him. They don’t have prayer. There is no one to comfort them when life defeats them. They are absolutely alone, even in crowds. When they get sick, they have to hope primitive, expensive human medicine can fix them. When they have problems, they have no reason to think they will overcome them. They live with failure, hopelessness, and desperation all the time.

Godless people live in anxiety and darkness, and then they go to hell, where they are tormented by the hateful spirits they served all their lives. Whatever my challenges are, I live in victory. God has visited me personally. He tells me things. He heals me. He puts my enemies in their places. When I die, I will live with him in peace and joy forever.

God helped me to remember that my enemies are as human as I am, and that they are much worse off than I am. He helped me feel it. Most people who are against me have never heard from God, or they are so screwed up, they can’t accept it when he communicates with them. They deny it to themselves.

I am in a position of great wealth and complete security, and I am angry with people who are in complete poverty and destined for eternal agony.

God helped me focus less on the pain they cause me, which is fleeting and trivial, and more on the horrible circumstances in which they live. Because of that, I am now better able to forgive and pray for them, without anger.

He also helped me to admit that I am just like them, but for his intervention in his life. I am not a good person. My sins would take years to list. I am not a good person subjected to the company of bad people. I am a bad person who wasn’t brave enough or strong enough to resist God when he called. I got to know God largely because I’m not as strong as people who resist him.

Every Christian should realize he’s a bad person, but getting that knowledge into your heart is a job for God. Knowing it is not the same as having it be part of you.

I encourage people to sit down every day and ask God what’s wrong with them. Admit you’re not honest. Admit you’re blind and deaf, and that you made yourself that way. Don’t waste time with excuses. They slow the process down. If you’re restless and anxious, there is a reason. There is something you need to confront, and it won’t go away until you get it out. You may never have to confess it to people, but you definitely need to tell God and get help overcoming it.

A long time ago, God told me, “Peace lies on the other side of confrontation.” Feel-good preachers keep peace away from you, because they hate confrontation. They think it drives dollars out the door, so they tell us we’re great.

I feel much better today, and I expect my blessings to increase. This stuff does work. You just have to do it the right way, not the TBN way.

3 Responses to “The Power of Low Self-Esteem”

  1. Ruth H Says:

    “God helped me focus less on the pain they cause me, which is fleeting and trivial, and more on the horrible circumstances in which they live. Because of that, I am now better able to forgive and pray for them, without anger.”
    I am thankful you have come to this understanding. I can think of nothing worse than to be in that situation.

  2. rick Says:

    “Though He was crucified in weakness,
    yet He lives by the power of God. For we also are weak in Him,
    but we shall live with Him by the power of God.”
    2 CORINTHIANS 13:4

    As we daily embrace the Cross we will discover that the truth of our freedom in Christ becomes more real to us than the sin that used to imprison us. We will learn that the Cross is not a mere theory, philosophy, or theological teaching; the Cross is a very real, practical, spiritual principle of Life overcoming Death, Light overcoming Darkness, and God’s Power being revealed in the midst of our weakness.

    Chip Brogden

  3. Scott P Says:

    “Peace lies on the other side of confrontation.”

    I love that, and it’s very timely for me right now. I’ll be chewing on that all weekend.

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