If you want to boast, boast only about the Lord. ‘When people commend themselves, it doesn’t count for much. The important thing is for the Lord to commend them»(2 Corinthians 10: 1 7, 18, NLT).
Good self-esteem does not consist of praising oneself or praising the attributes one might have, as in the case of a person with narcissistic personality. Neither does it consist of doing everything flawlessly just like perfectionists aim to do. These people usually have an unbalanced self-esteem. Richard exhibited many characteristics of narcissistic personality. He possessed a great need of being admired and acknowledged for his achievements. Thus, he often explained how well he did his job, the knowledge he had and how others were far beneath him. He believed many envied him and he felt superior, claiming he was misunderstood, since other people’s ignorance didn’t allow them to fully appreciate his qualities.
Everybody avoided him because of his arrogance. But the truth was that, inside, he was lonely and hurt due to his low self-esteem. Louise was a perfectionist. Her goal was to always do everything perfectly. As a result, she was never satisfied because she couldn’t reach her own unrealistically high demands. She often got overwhelmed by a deep fear of not doing her job thoroughly, not using the correct words, or not dressing appropriately for the occasion. When others told her, it was not necessary for her to work so hard, she got defensive and her relationships with others suffered. Actually, Louise was suffering from low self-esteem and secretly thought of herself as incompetent and limited. Richard didn’t solve his problem until he understood and applied today’s verse in his everyday life.
A person may brag about himself or herself but only the Lord’s approval really counts. Louise deeply benefited from the message of the text, «My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness» (2 Cor. 12:9). She learnt that her true value was found in the gifts God had given her and that her weaknesses could give her strength. That’s precisely why the apostle acknowledges, “For when I am weak, then I am strong» (v. 10). Richard and Louise gained the right level of self-esteem by adopting humility.
That is why Jesus blessed the poor in spirit (the humble ones) in Matthew 5:3. He presented Himself as gentle and humble (Matt. 11:29). He invited the elite to become servants (Matt. 23: 11) and though He is the King of the Universe, He humbled Himself by washing the feet of His disciples (John 13:5). Ask God to show you what you can do to be truly humble.