Self-Esteem and Humility

humble_manIn my last blog, I introduced a series on our God-Given Self-Esteem, examining the teachings of the Bible on the proper way we should see ourselves. We examined David’s words that God made man “a little lower than the heavenly beings, and crowned him with many crowns.” (Psalms 8:5) Unfortunately, we rarely believe or accept this definition of our identity.

In today’s post, we will examine the Biblical teaching that we should be humble. How does this teaching impact any work to raise self-esteem? How can we be humble and still consider ourselves “a little lower than the heavenly beings?” Can we be humble and still be “crowned with many crowns?”

Here are some scriptures that teach us to be humble:


For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has given you. (Romans 12:3)

But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”  (James 4:6)

 …for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23)


I believe that these scriptures point to a simple truth. They do express reality. We are totally dependent on God. We can do nothing without Him. We are all sinners, saved only by grace.

There is a God and I’m not Him. I can’t comprehend the vastness of the universe. Why, I can barely figure out my cell phone. When considering an all-knowing, all-powerful and all-loving God, any attitude other than humility would be foolish.

My efforts to help people recognize and heal self-esteem wounds is not intended to negate the above scriptures. I believe that any good counseling is a movement toward the truth, and I believe these scriptures are true. We have to be responsible for our mistakes and hurtful behaviors. We all have to recognize our limitations.

But these limitations are universally human. We are all in the same boat. We are all merely human. That’s not a personal defect, it’s just the truth of our identity. In this sense, we should always be humble.

In the next post, we’ll examine how a proper self-esteem can be humble, yet positive. We’ll look at how the world conveys lies that wound self-esteem and destroy our joy. We’ll identify the internal comparison that damages self-esteem.

Question: Have you known anyone that seemed to possess both humility and positive self-esteem? How did they demonstrate this?

Your God-Given Self-Esteem

What does the Bible say about a true, scriptural self-esteem? How does God want us to see ourselves? I believe scripture is prettyGazing_at_sky clear on this subject. This entry is the first of a series of blogs in “Your Core Value” that specifically addresses self-esteem from a Biblical standpoint. In today’s blog, we are looking at Psalm 8:3-5.

When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him? Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor.

When we read through the Psalms, we find that David was amazingly open with God about his feelings. Sometimes he was praising and dancing before the Lord. Sometimes, he was angry with God and complaining that God wasn’t acting when he felt he should. But here, we see a contemplative David. I can imagine him lying on his back in a field, gazing up at the stars. As he reflects on the vastness of the universe and the wonders of his earthly home, he asks, “What is man that you would be mindful of him?” He could have easily personalized it by saying, “Who am I that you would be mindful of me?”

It’s actually a common question. Who am I? How does God see me? Am I important, and if so, why? What is my worth? What is my value? What is the truth about me?

Our self-esteem is defined by the beliefs we hold about ourselves and how we fit, or do not fit into the world. In “Parables for a Wounded Heart,” I describe how negative childhood experiences tend to wound the self-esteem and create negative self-beliefs. Unfortunately, our self-esteem is often determined by the comparisons we make between ourselves and others.

In this scripture, however, David is asking the proper question. God, who do you say that I am? He goes to the source, the creator. He asks the source of truth for the truth.

But then, David seems to answer his own question. He reminds himself of what he already knows. “But, you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with many crowns.” This isn’t a question. It’s a statement of a truth David has gleaned from scripture and many years of intimate time with his God.

So, how often do you feel “a little lower than the heavenly beings?” On some days, do you feel a little lower than a snake’s belly? Do you feel “crowned with many crowns” or crowned with a dunce cap? If this scripture describes our true identity, then why do we not feel that way?

How do you think your life would be different if you truly felt a little lower than the heavenly beings? Would you stand taller, dream bigger, proceed with more courage and confidence? Would you serve better?

Also, how do you think you would treat others if you realized that they too, are just a little lower than the heavenly beings? Would you show more compassion and patience? Would you honor others more?

Take some time to reflect on David’s words about your identity. You are “a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned with glory and honor.” The same is true of those you encounter today. If you are a little lower than the heavenly beings, perhaps you should stand taller, smile broader and walk with a spring in your step. Consider what it would look like if you treated yourself and those you meet with honor. Try it on and see how it fits.

In future blogs, we’ll consider other scriptures that answer the question; Who am I?” We’ll continue to explore you God-given self-esteem.


Question: How do David’s words impact your perceptions of your worth or importance?

Stopping with “Thank You.”

When someone compliments you, how do you respond? Do you respond with some depreciating remark about yourself? “I tried, but I didn’t do a very good job. Someone else could have done better.” Do you quickly return a compliment, as a way of gettingThank_you attention off yourself? “Well, I was just thinking about how pretty that dress looks on you.” Does your response reveal your distrust of the compliment? “Right, now you’re just trying to make an old woman feel good.” Or do you just say “Thank you?”

We often have trouble accepting a compliment because we mistakenly believe that to do so would suggest that we are proud or arrogant. We fear that a simple “Thank you” would indicate that we agree with the compliment and feel we are superior in some way. Think about it. If you genuinely compliment someone and they just say “Thank you,” do you think they are being arrogant, or do you feel good that the compliment was accepted?

We sometimes have trouble accepting a compliment because we are self-critical and can’t imagine that the statement was genuine. The words are so opposed to our self-beliefs, and we assume that our “truth” is evident to everyone.

Regardless of the reason, responding to a compliment with any response other than “Thank you” is unnecessary and sometimes even impolite. Pay attention to your responses to compliments. Force yourself to respond with a simple “Thank you.” It’s enough.