The Professional School of Psychology did an interesting study on the life of Abraham Lincoln. Due to documented reports of depression, they handed out an assignment to students that focused on the psychological study of his life. Each student prepared an essay describing the manner in which a contemporary psychologist might have treated Lincoln as a patient.
One conclusion was: “It does appear that Lincoln had low self esteem and a negative view of himself. As mentioned earlier, he did not see himself as a good lawyer. He constantly worried about his ability to provide for himself and a family. He did not seem to have a lot of faith in his abilities although rationally he knew he was an intelligent and capable man. He also took his defeats very hard and blamed and doubted himself. Every time he lost an election it validated his belief that he was defective.” [read more]
Amazingly, Abraham Lincoln later became the 16th President of the United States. This is a great accomplishment when you consider how many people never fulfill their destiny due to a lack of self-esteem.
In discussing the facets of righteousness, we’ve learned that MAN AS HE OUGHT TO BE must have a FAITH TO LIVE BY and a PURPOSE TO LIVE FOR. But listen carefully… these are of no matter if you don’t have a SELF YOU CAN LIVE WITH.
My children used to be big fans of the radio station Air1 so I became one by default. Air1 plays contemporary rock Christian music and one popular band is Switchfoot. The words to their song Mess of Me adequately describes how many people feel about themselves:
I am my own affliction
I am my own disease
There ain’t no drug that they could sell
There ain’t no drug to make me well
Because the sickness is myself
I made a mess of me
I wanna get back the rest of me
I made a mess of me
But I wanna spend the rest of my life alive
We lock our souls in cages
We hide inside our shells
And it’s hard to free the ones you love
When you can’t forgive yourself
I imagine you are nodding your head in agreement. Unforgiveness of self is an epidemic of catastrophic proportion. It is a deceptive tool of the enemy to keep us bound–regardless of our faith in God. Because how we view ourselves will always have a greater impact on our lives than how we view God. In other words, no matter how many times someone tells me God loves me, if I look in my mirror and can’t accept it, then how I view myself overrides God’s truth.
In Psalm 17:15, the Bible says, “As for me, I will see Your face in RIGHTEOUSNESS; I shall be satisfied when I awake in Your likeness.” The problem is, we’re not yet satisfied because we awake everyday and see our flaws. We are our worst critic.
In 1993, after struggling for two years in my walk with God, I had an amazing encounter with truth. God set me in front of my own mirror and said, “Now tell her you love her and you forgive her.” It was in that moment I finally understood it wasn’t God who couldn’t forgive me–I simply had not forgiven myself.
We say God has a plan for our lives, but how can we fulfill those plans when our mirror holds us back? Righteousness is right-standing with God, including the ability to stand before Him as if we had never sinned. It is a hard pill to swallow, but rejecting this truth is the same as rejecting Jesus. “For He made Him who knew no sin [was perfect and without guilt] to be sin for us [who are guilty of many trespasses] that we might become [upon accepting Jesus as our Savior] the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21).
Accepting salvation includes accepting the fact that Jesus made a great exchange on our behalf. I struggled with this for many years, but finally decided if it was true, than I should live for the One who made it possible–fulfilling all He had planned for me.
I hope you will do the same.