The term “self-esteem” does not occur in the Bible. However, some of the ideas behind self-esteem are found in the Bible.

For example, the Bible teaches that humans — including ourselves — are ‘fearfully and wonderfully made’ (Ps. 139:14) and, not only that, we are made in God’s image (Gen. 1:26-27): because of this we should treat people, including ourselves, with respect (cp. Gen. 9:6).

Additionally, if we have faith in God then we are his children (Gal. 3:26-27). This means we are all the more valuable to God. And, on top of this, God has bought us with the death of his son (John 3:16) — that’s how much we are now worth! — and so we should appreciate the value we have.

We should have a healthy appreciate of these points.

One thing we need to avoid (and this is where some aspects of self-esteem can be incorrect) is pride (Mark 7:21-23), which is when we think of ourselves as better than others, and better than others because of something we have done. We need to remember that our value isn’t our own making; it is God’s making: he is the one who made us (we are his handiwork); he is the one whose image we are in; and he is the one who counts us as righteous, even though we are sinners (Rom. 5:8). As we recognise this, we should be thankful to God for the value he has given us.

As Christians, we should also esteem others better than ourselves (Phil. 2:3-4). This is what the Lord Jesus does, even though he is the son of God, and, as his disciples, we should follow his example (Phil. 2:5-8; John 13:3-5,12-17; Mark 10:43-45).

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