First, go here to catch up.
With me now?
So, I left us all pondering what exactly truck loads of self-esteem has done for us. Is it a good thing? A bad thing? Both?
Well, letâ€™s take a look.
Since what I call the, â€œSelf-Esteem Revolutionâ€ was first popularized in the 60â€™s, here are some things that have settled in as the new norms in our society.
- No fault everything (divorce, insurance, law suit settlements)
- The death of commitment
- God recreated in our image
- A lack of responsibility
- A new game called, â€œThe blame gameâ€
- A new generation of â€œlow expectationsâ€ kids
- a â€œme centeredâ€ universe verses â€œothers centeredâ€
- a loss of compassion
- a materialistic culture
- a loss of focus on the future
- a disregard for the environment
Really, I could go on and on and on, but Iâ€™m thinking you get the idea. In a â€œself esteem is everythingâ€ world, the Sun, stars and planets all revolve around us as individuals. Itâ€™s not that way in reality, but weâ€™re told it should be that way in our minds. Almost as though telling ourselves this same line over and over again will reverse the gravitational pull of planet reality. Instead of one Stuart Smalley looking in the mirror saying, â€˜I’m Good Enough, I’m Smart Enough, and Doggone It, People Like Me!!â€ we have millions looking in the mirror of self esteem each and everyday and silently chanting the mantra that they are special and â€œDoggone It, everything should revolve around me!â€
But then it doesnâ€™t happen. The gravitational pull of reality never changes. And for some, the slow realization of this fact is more than their â€œself esteemâ€ can possibly take.
So, what am I saying? That we all ought to think we are worms and deserve only to be trampled under foot?
Well, sort of.
It would be a shame if you left here. Some of you will, opting to take a tour through some of the plethora of blogs telling you what you want to hear, but if you leave now, youâ€™ll miss the silver lining. Every dark cloud has one, remember?
Hereâ€™s ours. You see, John Newton (the ex-slave trader who wrote, â€œAmazing Graceâ€) had it all wrong when he lived for himself and trafficked in human trade. And it wasnâ€™t until he realized that what he was doing was killing him as well that he woke up to the truth. Hereâ€™s the key line in his song:
â€œThat saved a wretch like me.â€
He wasnâ€™t saved after looking in the mirror and saying, â€œDoggone It! Iâ€™m worth saving!â€ In fact, those who say this may never find salvation. The Stuart Smalley path leads directly away from God.
So, should we live life feeling appropriately sickened by ourselves?
No. But we do need to come to the place where we are appropriately sickened by the sin we do. Only when we realize where we really are can God take us where we need to go.