Section 1: Executive Summary
Self-esteem is a very important issue. When we don’t have a balanced understanding of this topic, there can be serious consequences. If we have low self-esteem, it can affect the way we relate to other people and possibly cause us to be isolated and depressed.
Some people confuse self-esteem with human pride. Once we understand what the Bible teaches about self-esteem, it can help us to see ourselves as God sees us, and to relate to others who are seeking God or who are trying to maintain faith in Him.
God speaks to us about the topic of having self-esteem in the Bible. Many people, at some time in their life, suffer from low self-esteem. Two things are able to help us in these times:
- God’s message to us in the Bible.
- Friends and professional counselors.
Overcoming low self-esteem is often easier said than done. It is possible though, to reduce the severity of low self-esteem and live happy and productive lives. By God’s grace, He has redeemed us and will strengthen us throughout our lives.
What the Resource Hopes to Accomplish
This resource is intended to encourage young people to see themselves as valuable to God and therefore see themselves as having value. With this encouragement, young (and old) can “draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Heb. 4:16).
Having come to God, especially through baptism, we should feel equally reassured to stay with God throughout our lives with its ups and downs.
2.1 What is Self-esteem?
‘Esteem’ means ‘to think favourably of, regard as valuable’ (Concise Oxford Dictionary); from the Latin ‘to value, appraise, estimate’ – specifically ‘to have great regard for; value highly; respect’ (Webster’s New World Dictionary – Second College Edition)
Therefore ‘self-esteem’ is to consider oneself to be valuable. It ‘involves a self-evaluation’ (Collins, 1988 p.314).
It would seem then, that self-esteem is linked with the idea of self examination, which we know is a Biblical command (1 Cor. 11: 28; 2 Cor. 13:5)
2.2 Definition of Issue: What concerns are associated with the idea of Self-esteem?
Low self-esteem may be a factor in many other life problems, not the only one. For example low self-esteem may lead to:
- Inertia, not feeling motivated to do anything
- Poor interpersonal relationships (e.g. inability to hold a long-term friendship with someone of either sex, resulting in loneliness)
- Negative thoughts about yourself due to lack of confidence (e.g., “I cannot do anything right”)
- Guilt feelings (e.g., “I’m not worthy to be baptized”)
- Episodes of depression
- Thoughts about suicide
- Shyness – fear of rejection
- Homosexuality – an identity problem (e.g. “Who am I?”)
Low self-esteem is very common, and it is found within the Christadelphian community. In fact, Brother Robert Roberts suffered from depression. Young people are certainly not exempt. In this sense it is ‘normal’.
More specifically there are several common problems that low self-esteem produces. The previous list is not exhaustive, nor does a person with low self-esteem necessarily exhibit them all.
2.3 Experts Weigh In on Self-esteem
The well-known Christian doctor James Dobson observed:-
‘Lack of self-esteem produces more symptoms of psychiatric disorder than any other factor yet identified’ (Dobson, 1974)
He has, in particular, found that low self-esteem is the most troubling problem indicated by the majority of women (Dobson, 1975)
‘Many years ago Alfred Adler, a European psychologist, wrote that everyone has feelings of inferiority. Adler believed that we can only escape this inferiority trap by stopping the comparison of ourselves with others and by giving up the common desire to be superior’ (Collins, 1988 p.313)
3.1 Life is Difficult
No matter how old we are or what “phase” of life we are currently going through, one thing that we can all agree on is that life is no “walk in the park.” God is honest with us though, and has laid His cards out on the table (so-to-speak) about what we can expect, especially in the last days:-
Matt.13:22 – ‘the worry of the world, and the deceitfulness of riches.’
Luke 21:34-36 – ‘dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of life.’
2 Tim. 3:1-5 – ‘in the last days difficult times will come.’
Having this insight into what to expect, helps us to deal with what comes our way. We are told that life involves trials:-
James 1:2-3 – ‘you encounter various trials.’
1 Peter 1:6-7 – ‘you have been distressed by various trials.’
We are also told that God will discipline us. Sometimes this involves pain, which as humans we usually try to avoid as much as possible. We naturally look for ease and comfort!
1 Cor. 11:32 – ‘we are disciplined by the Lord.’
Heb. 12:6, 11 – ‘for those whom the Lord loves He disciplines.’
3.2 Causes of Low Self-esteem
Collins (1988, pp. 317-319), identifies seven common causes of low self-esteem:-
1. Faulty theology – we can confuse two opposite but similar sounding ideas.
- Self-worth is not the same as self-worship
- Self-love is not the same as selfishness
- Self-affirmation is not the same as self-conceit
- Being aware of self is not the same as absorption with self
- Self-denial is not the same as self-denigration
- Putting off the sinful nature is not the same as putting ourselves down
- Humility is not the same as humiliation
- Being unworthy is not the same as being worthless
2. Sin and Guilt
3. Past experience
Society places a high value on success, so we will often find it difficult when we experience failure, rejection or criticism.
4. Parent-child Relationships
Children can develop low self-esteem if they:
- are repeatedly criticized, shamed, rejected and scolded;
- have unrealistic standards and goals set for them;
- have parents who express the expectation that the child will probably fail;
- are punished repeatedly and harshly;
- have parents who imply that children are a nuisance, stupid or incompetent;
- have parents who avoid cuddling, hugging or affectionate touching; or
- have parents who overprotect or dominate children so that they fail later when forced to be on their own
5. Unrealistic Expectations
This sets us up for failure and for feelings of inferiority that often follow.
6. Faulty thinking
We may not realize it but many high achievers feel insecure in their positions of success, the same as ‘un-achievers’ do.
7. Community Influences
It is widely assumed in the world that a person’s worth depends on their:
- Physical attractiveness, beauty (particularly for women, but for men too)
- Education, qualifications
- Money, wealthy, visible possessions (house, car, etc.)
- Achievements, popular, successful
Remember that the world often does a good job deceiving us. Life is not a popularity contest!
4.1 Different Opinions
Even in the Christian community in general, there are strong opinions on both sides on the subject of self-esteem. Some of this is due to the use of terms that are confusing or that are used in different ways. On the one side we have ‘feel-good’ evangelist Robert Schuller:
‘Self-esteem is pride in being a human being.” “Self-esteem is feeling good about oneself because one has been working hard and well.” “Since the opposite of good self-esteem is that in a person which caused him to say ‘I am unworthy,’ (which, says Schuller, is the worst sin that a man or woman can commit), self-esteem is the feeling, ‘I am worthy.’’ (Schuller, 1982)
We will show that this does not reflect the Bible’s teachings.
The more conservative side of Christianity thinks that the “self-esteem” movement promotes selfishness and self-centredness, and is sinful because it focuses on the individual. We don’t agree with this line of thinking either.
‘Embracing a positive image of self will not, in the long run, make any difference, because I am still wrapped up in myself. I simply become a self-centered sinner who is trying to like himself. Even if I feel bad about myself and do not like myself, I am still focusing on myself, and ‘myself’ is the problem. The corrupted condition of my human ‘self’ is not a mere figment of imagination which can be adjusted by thinking differently.’ (Don Matzat, 1990 p.71).
We shouldn’t be surprised that modern teachings don’t have answers for us. We go to God’s Word to learn…so let’s do that.
4.2 Are we valuable?
‘Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father knowing. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Therefore do not fear; you are of more value than many sparrows’ (Matt. 10:29-31 NASB)
How exactly then does God consider us to be of value?
We have been chosen by God as His elect (1 Peter 1:2). The very idea is amazing and puzzling, you might even have a hard time believing it, but it’s still true!
Consider these verses (not exhaustive):
Psa. 23:4 – God is with us.
John 3:16; 1 John 3:1; 4:19 – God loves us.
Rom. 5:10 – We are reconciled to God.
Rom. 8:32 – God has given us Christ.
Rom. 8:37 – We are conquerors.
2 Cor. 1:3 – God comforts us.
Eph. 1:3 – We have blessings in the heavenlies.
Eph. 2:5, 8 – We have been saved by grace.
Phil. 4:6-9 – We are at peace.
Col. 1:14 – We are redeemed and forgiven.
1 Peter 5:7 – God cares about us.
1 John 2:1 – Jesus is our advocate (and judge!).
1 John 3:21; 5:14 – We have confidence in God.
1 John 4:10 – Jesus is our propitiation (brought into God’s favor, by Him).
4.3 But Shouldn’t I Feel Wretched?
The Bible describes human nature as being exceedingly wicked. A few examples:-
Jer. 17:9 – ‘The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick.’
Mark 7:20-23 – ‘That which proceeds out of the man, that is what defiles the man.’
Rom. 3:10 – ‘There is none righteous, not even one.’
Rom. 7:11 – ‘For sin, taking opportunity through the commandment, deceived me, and through it killed me.’
Paul understood how wicked we truly are…he described our situation as one of conflict:-
Gal. 5:17 – “For the flesh sets its desire against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.’
From this passage and Romans 7 and 8 it is evident that there are two “me”s. There is the “me” that is my human nature from birth to death, and there is the “me” that is in Christ, saved and redeemed.
Rom. 8:2 – ‘Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death.’
Rom. 8:9 – ‘you are not in the flesh but in the spirit.’
4.4 But what about My Doubts and Fears?
Sometimes we feel that because we aren’t completely confident, or we don’t feel completely assured, that we are unacceptable in God’s sight, and will not be in the Kingdom. It’s important to always keep in mind, that the Bible teaches that our inadequacies are recognized by God, for example:
Psa. 103:13-14 – ‘For He Himself knows our frame: He is mindful that we are but dust.’
Isa. 66:2 – ‘But to this one will I look, to him who is humble and contrite of spirit, and who trembles at My word.’
Matt. 5:3 – ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit.’
Matt.14:31 – ‘O you of little faith, why did you doubt.’
Mark 4:19 – ‘The worries of the world.’
Mark 9:24 – ‘I do believe, help my unbelief.’
2 Cor.2:7 – ‘Overwhelmed by excessive sorrow.’
2 Cor.3:5 – ‘Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves.’
2 Cor. 4:7-9 – ‘But we have this treasure in earthen vessels.’
4.5 Self Love
“Self-love” is not an easy concept for many of us understand or accept. It is however Scriptural:-
Lev. 19:18 – ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’
This passage is quoted in Matt. 19:19; 22:39; Luke 10:27; Eph. 5:28, 33; James 2:8. Jesus prefaced this statement with the command to love God with all we have. So we can conclude then that, God wants us to love Him, our neighbors and ourselves, consistently.
‘Regardless of who this person is (that we are to love) I am to love him or her in the same positive, caring manner I would treat myself.’ (Howard, 1994 p.44).
We do have some value, even to ourselves! We should not put ourselves down. Our lives, growth, relationships and responsibilities need to be cared for. Our thoughts, feelings, decisions, body, attitudes, sexuality, words and reactions are significant because when we pray, read the Bible, praise God or worship Him, we are giving glory to God. This is of value to us as well as to Him! We are always in some way both the contributor and the receiver. How do we ‘love ourselves’? By doing what is best for us (which is not always what our human nature craves).
When we recall that God’s purpose is to have a marriage-relationship with us (see section 4.6 below) we can appreciate the importance of this is a two-way bond with our Creator.
‘Self-love, as I understand the concept biblically and psychologically, includes the following:
(1) accepting myself as a child of God who is lovable;
(2) being willing to give up considering myself as the centre of the world;
(3) recognizing my need of God’s forgiveness and redemption.’ (Carlson, 1988 p.12)
4.6 What does Baptism Achieve?
Paul describes our baptism as an engagement to Christ:-
2 Cor. 11:2 – ‘For I betrothed you to one husband, that to Christ I might present you as a pure virgin.’
Since we have been engaged to Christ we like any couple should be preparing for our marriage. This is as intimate a relationship as it’s possible to imagine or describe! It tells us that we are desired beyond our wildest imaginings. He intensely desires our companionship and affection. And this is the message we are to take to the world!
At baptism we were saved from the surety of eternal death:
Rom. 8:24 – ‘For in hope we have been saved.’
Eph. 2:5, 8 – ‘By grace you have been saved.’
4.7 Life in Christ is one of Joy
‘Life is ironic.’ ‘Times of sorrow can bring us joy.’ These are deep statements; but for a servant of God who is thinking and looking to beyond the here-and-now, they can have a very profound meaning.
Phil. 4:4 – ‘Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!’
This is easier to understand if we consider joy to be internal (our joy in the Lord, always) and happiness as external (a reaction to an event, on occasions).
4.8 Contentment in God
How many people do you know in the world who would describe themselves as being truly “content?” Contentment is a word that is direct opposition to the way of the world. We are encouraged to be discontented, to want more, to be self-assertive, and to look after ourselves above all others. But God says otherwise:-
1 Tim. 6:6 – ‘But godliness actually is a means of great gain, when accompanied by contentment.’
5.1 Examples of Struggles in People of Faith
The Scripture is packed full of people who struggled in life but were acceptable to God, at least in the end. God has left these examples for us to teach us that He knows what He is doing, what is best for us. We are supposed to learn from the lives of these Bible characters that we have to trust God. That is faith!
Sarah and Hagar – Consider Sarah’s jealousy of Hagar and Hagar’s subsequent rejection.
Rachel and Leah – Each at some time would have felt rejected.
Job – ‘Let the day perish on which I was to be born’ (Job. 3:3)
Moses – After being told by God that he would lead Israel to freedom, Moses said ‘Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh.’ God then revealed His Name to Moses, turned his staff into a serpent and back again, and turned his hand leprous and then healed it! Then Moses said ‘Please, Lord, I have never been eloquent.’ God reassured him but Moses protested, ‘Please, Lord, now send the message by whomsoever Thou wilt.’ God was angry with Moses for his lack of responsiveness, but nevertheless used him and his brother Aaron to fulfill His will (Exod. 3:4-4:14)
Gideon – The angel of the Lord called Gideon a ‘valiant warrior’ as he was clandestinely threshing wheat in a wine press. Fire came from heaven to devour his offering. Unconvinced that God would indeed work through him to save Israel from the Midianites Gideon asked for two signs with the fleece (once wet and once dry). The angel obliged. However, Gideon was given the further sign by overhearing the dream of the Midianites. God will reassure us more than once too, and not reproach us (Judges 6:12-7; James 1:5-6)
Elijah – After the wonderful victory on Mount Carmel Elijah fled to Horeb. There God displayed His power in a wind, an earthquake and a fire, and then spoke gently to him. Whilst Elijah doubted that God would save him from Jezebel, God continued to work with him (1 Kings 18-19)
Psalms 42-43 –The words ‘Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me?’ are repeated three times in these Psalms. These are the words of the faithful sons of Korah, but are often the words of God’s people in all ages.
Psalm 77 – This Psalm of Asaph, another faithful man, expresses the agonies that most, if not all, of us go through from time to time. ‘My soul refused to be comforted’ (v.2) ‘I am so troubled that I cannot speak” (v.4).
Mary (Jesus’ mother) – Her initial surprise at being selected as the mother of the Son of God indicates that she did not consider herself of any importance.
Peter – His denial of Christ devastated him, and he was thereafter a changed man.
Timothy – ‘The most we can fairly infer from Paul’s exhortations to him is that he may have been over-reluctant to stand as an equal to older brethren, and that he, like all – like even Paul himself – felt the need for encouragement to press forward in a dangerous and difficult and often lonely path.’ (Haltom & Booker, 1978 p.13)
These are just a few examples in Scripture of people who struggled to maintain their faith. There is tremendous reassurance and comfort to us in knowing that even though these men and women did not feel capable, courageous or strong, God did work with them, and they did find acceptance with God. That is why their stories are there!
5.2 What about Psychologists?
Counselors and psychologists can help us to understand how we think and act and show us techniques to improve our thinking and behaviour. This can be helpful to a certain extent. However someone who is agnostic, atheist or a member of another religion might have opinions or teachings that contradict the Bible. We must remember that all knowledge can be useful, but we must sieve it for truth consistent with God’s revelation which alone can offer us a hope of salvation.
Psychologists can be helpful to a certain extent. We must remember that many are agnostic or atheist and will have opinions or teachings that contradict the Bible’s teachings. We saw an example of this back in section 4.1.
All knowledge can be useful, but we must sieve it for truth consistent with God’s revelation. Psychology can help us to understand how we think and act, and show us techniques to improve. It cannot however save us, nor must it ever over-ride God’s message to us.
5.3 How to Change
Carlson (1988 pp.66-71), identifies five stages in the process of change:-
Change begins with people’s awareness of discomfort or dissatisfaction with their lives and their way of coping with themselves and/or their relationships. We must be conscious of the need for change, and the need for help. Help is available.
Change continues as one develops understanding and acceptance of dissatisfaction and discomfort. We need to understand our desperate need for salvation from sin and death, and that low self-esteem is part of the human condition that needs redeeming.
The third stage in the process of change is ‘I will try differently.’ We must recognize that old ways of coping don’t work and that we must try new ones. Trying harder with inadequate methods does not lead to change. There are new choices, new potentials, and new lifestyles available to help us.
Taking action is the fourth stage in the change process – ‘I am doing differently.’ Try the new choices, potentials and lifestyles. It does not necessarily involve more action, but different action.
All change requires maintenance. Change lasts when people dedicate themselves to maintaining the growth they have achieved. (e.g. ‘remember’ – Psa. 77:3,6,11; 2 Peter 1:12-13,15; 3:1-2). We need to set short and long term goals (realistic ones) to help us maintain our new course of action.
5.4 How to Build Your Self-Esteem
Carlson (1988 pp.72-93), identifies twelve steps of building self-esteem:-
1 Acknowledge the Problems Produced by Low Self-esteem
Negative “self-talk” can develop into a distorted view of oneself, and lead to negative feelings and behavior. We need to acknowledge that this happens. Section 2.2 listed some of the problems that low self-esteem can produce.
2 Believe that Loving Yourself is Acceptable to God.
Section 4.2 showed how valuable we are to God and section 4.5 dealt with the difficult concept of “self-love”. We can tell you over and over that loving yourself is okay, but that doesn’t translate into you automatically being able to do it!
- Telling yourself repeatedly, ‘God says it is acceptable for me to love myself.’
- Repeatedly picturing yourself as someone that God loves.
- Consistently acting in a loving way towards yourself.
- Feeling loving towards yourself.
3 Believe God Chooses You.
We have all been called to be part of God’s family, even as intimately as the bride of Christ! We are also the temple of God in whom He has chosen to dwell (1 Cor.3:16-17). Furthermore, we are all to be ambassadors of the gospel to the world on His behalf. He uses us to continue the work of His Son on earth (Matt. 5:13-14). He has chosen us to do that.
4 Discover Your Place in the Body of Christ.
1 Corinthians chapter 12 stresses that every part of the Body is important. The weaker and less honorable parts are still necessary (v.22-24). We all have a vital part to play.
Find an aspect of your ecclesial life that you enjoy and can contribute to. Others may be able to help you learn how to apply these skills. Develop and nurture them. Don’t wait to be asked to help out; volunteer for jobs that need to be done.
5 Validate Yourself.
We should examine our own work only (Gal. 6:4) and not compare ourselves with others (2 Cor. 10:12). “Let each one examine his own work” (Gal. 6:4). Our example is Christ, and if any comparison is going to be made, it should only ever be to Him.
6 Make Realistic Demands on Yourself.
Know our strengths and weakness, opportunities and threats (known as a SWOT analysis). Do not boast of our abilities, nor overextend ourselves. We must not deceive ourselves by thinking we are more than we are (Gal. 6:3), nor less than we are.
7 Welcome the Truth about Yourself.
For the woman of Samaria and Zaccheus the truth was painful but also welcome and liberating. No one likes criticism, but we do have to be honest with ourselves. God sees us for what we really are and we should do the same. If we react to criticism with disappointment in ourselves rather than anger to the critic we are on the right track!
8 Live with God’s Love and Forgiveness as a Way to Implement Change.
We were loved by God when we were helpless, ungodly, sinners and enemies (Rom. 5:6-10), long before we loved Him (1 John 4:10). We all desire to be loved unconditionally – from parents, partners, children and friends. Few people can reach this standard, but God has proved His love by giving His Son to die for our sins. Furthermore, when we fail Him, He forgives. What a motivation to carry on and to change for the better!
9 Parent Yourself.
Our earthly parent-child relationships will not usually be sufficient to meet all our needs. As a result, we often have to complete the parenting process ourselves, and also not blame others (including our parents) for not fully meeting our needs. When you become a parent and discover the challenges of parenting, you may have more sympathy for your parents!
We must not depend solely on others, because they like us will fail. Depending on God is the one thing we know we can be certain of. With His help we can become self-supporting adults, and enjoy the love and help of others along the way.
10 Give of Yourself.
One of the greatest teachings of the Scriptures is the principle of giving. We owe everything to God, who gave His Son for us. We are able to show our respect to God and this teaching by giving of ourselves to others, in the same unconditional manner (Matt. 25:40). This is love!!
The Bible says that the Father finds “good pleasure” in giving us the Kingdom (Luke 12:32). We will also find joy in giving it to others.
11 Meditate on Who You Are when Confronted by God.
Self-esteem is an identity issue, and identity is dependent on relationships. The most important people in our lives define and influence our definition of ourselves. Therefore, hearing what God has to say about us influences our lives. We need to take God’s words seriously when we are told of His positive words. Don’t tell God He is wrong!
12 Be as Patient with the Process of Learning to Love Yourself as God Is.
Patience with oneself is the result of having realistic expectations. We must therefore allow sufficient time for self-esteem to grow. Significant changes in our lives take time to identify and implement. All learning is a slow process.
6.1 Help From Others
Carlson makes it clear that we need help to change:-
‘People can change: but they seldom, if ever, change by themselves. This fact underscores the crucial supportive and challenging role of counselors. Change is the product of relationships with others. That humans cannot save themselves is central to Christianity. But while change comes through relationships, it always begins inside the person. We cannot help people without being let into their lives (Rev. 3:20).’
(Carlson, 1988 p.70).
Some of us do not find it easy to accept help, less still to ask for it; we are ashamed. This is a part of our human pride and must be faced. We cannot save ourselves from sin and death, and must ask God to help us. We do so because we know He is willing and able to save us. We face the fact that we are desperately in need. We need help and the courage to ask for it. This website and many other resources exist for this reason.
The key to overcoming problems and making progress in life is to develop relationships with others who will give understanding, support and help.
’Only you can do it. But you can’t grow alone. Spiritual and emotional growth take place in relationship with others. That is why God created the family and the church.’ (Carlson, 1988 p.121)
Being an active member of our community is not only good for us, it is a fundamental Bible teaching:
‘The Christian is likened to a living stone, and the Church is likened unto a living edifice into which he is built (1 Peter 2:5). Clearly that means that Christianity is community. The individual Christian only finds his true place when he is built into the edifice of the Church. Solitary religion is ruled out as an impossibility.
Now the point is quite clear. So long as a brick lies by itself it is useless. It only becomes of use when it is built into a building. That is why it was made; and it is being built into a building that it realizes its function and the reason for its existence. It is so with the individual Christian. To realize his destiny he must not remain alone, but must be built into the fabric and edifice of the Church.’ (Barclay, 1973 p.231)
6.2 A Balanced Emphasis
The Bible records the many ups and downs in the lives of godly people, as well as the nation of Israel. Sometimes this was caused by the disobedience or mistakes of individuals (1 Chron. 21:7-14), but sometimes for no apparent reason (e.g., Job 2:3).
Everyone goes through ups and downs in life. No one can expect to always be happy, nor should we expect to always be sad! At some stages of our lives there may be more of one than the other. This is normal – ‘do not adjust your set’! Remember that during all those times…God is with us (Psa. 23:4; Heb. 13:5).
Building helpful friendships is a key to a healthy state of mind. The greatest example of all is Jesus – we are his friends if we do what he commands us (John 15:12-17). He has chosen us – we simply respond to his gracious invitation to become his brothers and sisters.
The importance of friendships is described in many proverbs:
- better than many companions – 18:24
- known for their constancy – 17:17; 18:24
- show candor – 27:6 (not flattery – 29:5)
- give counsel – 27:17
- show tact – 27:14
Other examples of friendship are David and Jonathan (2 Sam. 1:26), and Jesus and John the beloved (John 13:23; 21:20).
Youth leaders need to exercise as much effort as possible in building sound friendships between and with young people in a Godly environment.
6.4 Develop Responsibilities
As young people grow they need to take up increasing responsibilities. These should be available to them in youth groups, in organization and presentations. This helps to build their self-esteem.
‘The Law of Moses . . .recognised something we occasionally overlook, and that is the need to get brethren involved in ecclesial work, and for those who have borne the burden and heat of the day graciously to step aside to allow younger brethren to take up where they leave off. . .
If we do not learn diligence and application in our youth, they are difficult skills to acquire when we are older. Ecclesias should consider giving young brethren and sisters regular responsibilities to assist them to develop these qualities—for their own benefit and for the ultimate benefit of the whole ecclesia.
But these factors can cause older brethren and sisters to rationalise their own holding on to tasks within the ecclesia. The younger ones are not ready, they will say. And they may be right! But the blame for that may not lie wholly at the door of the young. If they have not been encouraged, or given the opportunity and the training to undertake these tasks, how can they be ready?
Brethren and sisters of Christ, more than anyone else, should appreciate the need for encouragement. Many will remember with fondness those of an earlier generation who gave them their first opportunities; who gently chided with the object of improving our service, and never with the thought of destroying a tender plant. The Apostle Paul explained the great service experienced sisters can provide to the growing generation: “That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed” (Titus 2:4, 5).
It is no different for experienced brethren. Their knowledge and wisdom will die with them unless they can influence others who will be the torch bearers of future generations. Life is like a great relay race as one generation passes on to the next the light of gospel truth.’
7.1 Referred to in this Topic
Ashton. M., (1992) The Christadelphian Vol. 129 UK: The Christadelphian Office
Barclay. W., (1973) Letters of James and Peter Edinburgh: The Saint Andrew Press
Carlson. D. E., (1988) Counseling and Self-esteem Dallas: Word Publishing
Collins. G. R.,(1988) Christian Counseling Location given: W Publishing Group
Dobson. J., (1974) Hide or Seek Location not known: Fleming H Revell Company Publishers
Dobson. J., (1975) What Wives Wish Their Husbands Knew About Women Wheaton, Illinois: Living Books
Haltom. T, & Booker. G, (1978) Godliness with Contentment Self published
Howard. J. G., (1994) Balancing Life’s Demands Sisters, Oregon: Multnomah Books (Questar Publishers, Inc.)
Matzat. D., (1990) Christ Esteem Eugene, Oregon: Harvest House Publishers
Schuller. R. H.., (1982) Self-esteem: The New Reformation Waco, Texas: Word Books
Various (1977) New American Standard Bible Nashville: Thomas Nelson
7.2 Other Resources
Christadelphian Care Groups http://www.cycresource.com/links.html
Young Adult Health: http://www.cyh.com/HealthTopics/HealthTopicDetails.aspx?p=240&np=298&id=2111