Self-Esteem

Part of being a healthy person is having a healthy view of who you are and who God created you to be. In our culture we often talk about how we see ourselves through the vocabulary of self-esteem.

Having good self-esteem means having a healthy respect for who you are and what you are able to do.

What does the Bible say about self-esteem?

Psalm 139:13-14 reads, “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.”

Luke 12:7 states, “Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows.”

Here we see that humans are a special creation of God and that he put us together just how he wants us to be. With that being said, we can conclude that we should all have a respect for ourselves, because God created us.

Of course we know that we live in a fallen world and as a result of sin, things are not as they should be. Because of this, we often do not view ourselves the way God sees us and we question our worth and value.

Instead of beating ourselves up, we must remember that Ephesians 2:10 states, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”

When we stay focused on our identity in Christ, it is easier to remember that he has created us to do good works. He has given us the abilities and tools we need to accomplish whatever it is that he has called us to do in life.

When we lose sight of our value, we disparage ourselves. We think others will reject us because of who we are. We have no confidence in our abilities or our decision making.

On the other hand, when we have a healthy view of who we are and what we can do, we are confident, we are willing to take chances and stand up for ourselves, and we do not worry about what others think of us. We see ourselves as valuable and special.

Several ways to help ensure that we have healthy self-esteem include the following:

  • Eat healthy food
  • Take time to read
  • Take time to pray
  • Build social relationships
  • Look for challenges

To take a test to see how much self-esteem you have, click here: http://psychologytoday.tests.psychtests.com/take_test.php?idRegTest=3207 

To learn more about self-esteem, visit these sites:

Lying and Honesty

The Christian Bible teaches us that we should be honest and that we should not lie.  People often lie to protect someone or themselves, but when the lie is discovered, things always become more difficult.  Sometimes people lie because they are ashamed, they feel trapped, or they believe that admitting to the truth will cause them rejection and more hurt.  I know it is difficult to tell the truth sometimes, but we must make ourselves do it.  The initial hurt that comes with telling the truth may be difficult to deal with, and it may cause tension, but it also builds trust and accountability.

What does the Bible say about lying?

Exodus 20:16 reads, “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.”

and

Proverbs 13:5 states, “The righteous hates falsehood, but the wicked brings shame and disgrace.”

It is important for Christians to commit to being honest with people and to refrain from telling lies about others. We must be responsible for our actions and own up to our choices even when we realize we made choices that were wrong.

Before anyone tells me anything (a truth that will be hard to swallow, confession of a bad decision, etc.), I need to commit to be patient with the person and to not react in a vengeful way.  If someone tells me a truth (even if that truth hurts my feelings), I will respect the person for doing so.  I will then need to be patient with that person, and continue to love and care for the individual.  I want to encourage you now to commit to being patient with others, being honest with them, and to commit to loving and caring for people even when they hurt you.

If a person continually hurts you (verbally), you do not need to take the abuse.  I would encourage you, in this kind of a situation, to forgive the person, but then put yourself in a position that will no longer allow you to be hurt by him or her.  Sometimes this means ending a friendship or backing off from it. This does not mean that you can no longer care about that person, but it does mean that you will have to put up some boundaries.

Superstition

We have all heard of numerous superstitions; don’t step on cracks, don’t walk under a ladder, breaking a mirror brings bad luck, black cats crossing your path, etc. In our current culture we also treat certain days with superstition. This week marks another anniversary of 9/11. Should we be superstitious about traveling on a plane on 9/11? Should Christians be superstitious about anything? How should we think about the superstitions engrained in our culture?

What does the Bible say about superstitions?

1 Timothy 4:7 reads, “Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness.”

In the first century when Paul wrote to Timothy, Timothy was serving as the pastor of the church in Ephesus. Ephesus was known for its practice in superstition and folklore. People in the community typically purchases amulets to wear on necklaces in order to keep evil spirits away. They were also known to pay priests to say incantations of blessings on their lives so that nothing bad would happen to them. In addition to the letters to Timothy, Paul also wrote the letter to the Ephesians where he argues that Christ has all spiritual authority and power. Many in Ephesus who had turned to Christ stopped wearing amulets and others in the community interpreted this as these new believers being unguarded against evil spiritual forces. In Ephesians, Paul notes that Christ has all authority as a reminder to the believers that they do not need to wear amulets for safety. God protects his children.

Today Christians still have the same protection because Christ still holds all spiritual authority and power. Superstitions are based around giving magical power to objects such as mirrors, jewels, cats, and other such things. But in reality, these things have no power, and certainly not the kind of power that Christ wields over the spiritual realm.

Conclusion

Christians need not worry about superstitions, instead, our focus should simply be on going where God has called us to go, and doing what he has called us to do. All the while, we may remain confident in him that he will protect our souls, even if he calls us into a situation where we may face physical or emotional harm.

Music and the Bible

Music is perhaps the most influential of all kinds of art. The reason being that it is everywhere; music permeates our culture. We hear music in our cars, we purchase music on our computers, we attend concerts, we sing at our churches, we hear music at sporting events. We cannot hardly go into a public building without hearing music. Films and TV shows can be made or broken by the quality of their soundtracks. Because music is so pervasive, it is critically influential in shaping our culture.

Each artist composes from a particular worldview and that view inevitably comes out in the authors music. We often state that we don’t pay attention to the lyrics, but we can also typically sing the lyrics by heart. That being said, what we really mean is not that we don’t know or pay attention to the lyrics, but that we do not critically evaluate them.

If each artist has a worldview, then he or she is making claims about the world and about truth and morality in his or her music Therefore, it is important to know what we are listening to and what the message is that we are putting into our hearts.

There is nothing wrong with liking any particular types of music. I love hard rock/heavy metal and rap-core. But it is important to understand the meanings behind the songs that we find ourselves enjoying. If we do not, our views could slowly be changed over time without us realizing what is happening.

Plato recognized this and thought that music was so dangerous that he believed that musicians should have their lyrics approved by the leaders of the people before being allowed to play publicly. Here I do not share Plato’s sentiment. I believe in free speech and in allowing artists to share their own perspectives. But I also believe that I should be aware of their perspectives as I listen to what is being stated in their lyrics.

My understanding of their music is my own responsibility because we are all responsible for what we listen to and for what we do with what we hear.

What does the Bible say about music?

Psalm 105:2 sums it up nicely, “Sing to him, sing praises to him; tell of all his wondrous works!”

We are to sing to the Lord. There is a place for music in worship. Music also teaches us about life and helps us make sense of our feelings about all aspects of life. As we listen to music, we should be concerned with the truth. We should seek out the truth in the songs that we sing.

Music:  an art of sound in time that expresses ideas and emotions in significant forms through the elements of rhythm, melody, harmony, and color…any sweet, pleasing, or harmonious sounds or sound. (Dictionary.com)