1.07.2008

Depression - The Hangover of Self-Esteem

In hindsight, knowing others believers who have suffered tremendously from depression, I do not know if I am still in agreement with this post, I hope it is worth the read anyway.

Depression, the hangover from self esteem teachings

Note: I recognize the validity of hormonally induced depression such as post partum or even some menstrual cycling, and also chemically induced depression such as recovering drug addicts, or those exposed to chemical warfare. This however is a very small percentage of the cause of the depression epidemic in our country.

From the moment our youth enter preschool they are inundated with self-esteem teachings. Even baby toys have little voices that try to boost an infants self-esteem. Kids and grown ups alike are constantly reminded that they are good enough, and they are smart enough and they need to be happy with who they are. They are told the key to resisting drugs is self-esteem, the key to getting good grades is self-esteem, the key to a happy life is self-esteem. How do you get successful in business? Well self-esteem of course. If someone seems a little bit down what should a counselor do? Build up their self-esteem. Even in the church we preach the gospel of self-esteem. “God loves you just the way you are” and “Jesus died just for you, because you are so special” and so on. Now advertisers have caught on to this self-esteem propaganda and promise there products will create this self-esteem that you have been taught your whole life to have. With all this teaching suicides still continue to rise, drug use continues to rise, depression is a pandemic and so on. The bottom line is that self-esteem is the sure path to discontentment.

Isaiah 2:22 - Stop regarding man, whose breath of life is in his nostrils;For why should he be esteemed?
Matthew 23:12 - Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.
I Timothy 3:1-5 - But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be LOVERS OF SELF, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these.
Philippians 2:3 - Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves;

There are a thousand more verses, especially in the proverbs warning us not to esteem ourselves. Self-esteem is in direct contradiction to the whole of scripture. Now obviously the worlds teaching about self-esteem is quite the opposite of the scriptures teachings, but what are the implications of this teaching? The primary result of self-esteem teaching and preaching has been depression. That deserves repetition, the primary result of self-esteem teaching has been depression.

Depression is the hangover from self-esteem teaching. At some point after being taught to rely so heavily on ourselves, and believe so much in ourselves we will come face to face with the reality of who we are. That is such a sobering reality, seeing our moral failure, vileness, and weakness, the next natural feeling is depression. We have been taught all along to believe in ourselves but then we come face to face with the fact that there is nothing within ourselves worth believing in. If you look at most cases of depression you will see that what is being said here is exactly the way it occurs. Even when grief turns to depression it is because a person turns their grief inward and somehow believes they could have done something better to fix the situation. Again this self disappointment hurts so bad and depresses a person because there entire life they have been taught to rely on self and that they had self worth and so on.

The hangover analogy can continue. Just like a drunk reaches for the bottle of booze to alleviate their hangover, so to does the depressed individual go to some counselor who attempts to counter the depression with self-esteem, when if they had never esteemed themselves so much the depression would have never started.

So how does it stop? This is going to sound really rough, but it will take preachers who are willing to expose people for what they are. It will take preachers and teachers who will press down hard upon their hearers until they come to grips with how wretched they really are. It will take a few brave men and women who are willing to crush a persons self-esteem which society has worked so hard to build, and they must do it with the Gospel truth. It is time for people to set things straight. Instead of saying you are so special Jesus died for you. It must be said that your sin is so vile that it pleased God to crush His only Son when His son took your sin upon Himself (Isaiah 53:10).

Now why would we come down that hard on someone who is already depressed? Because the reality of their depression and failure will match exactly what the scripture says about them, and seeing that the scripture is true we can them move them into the blessed hope contained in the word.

I had a real hard time articulating all of that. I hope it made sense, maybe I should have given my thoughts a few days to solidify on this subject before I wrote, nonetheless there it is.

Yesterday I wrote about exposing clich├ęs and common Christian phrases for what they really are, and I hope at some point to continue in that area. That series will pop up sporadically under the title common words #??. In this post however, I have deviated from that.

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