The cult of self esteem tells us that everyone needs approval and praise. People like to feel important and that they are special. This feeds our sense of self worth according to the world. Some Christians have seemed to accept this concept and feel the need to incorporate this into their faith. The question I ask is: Should Christians be seeking this kind of approval? Is this a Scriptual concept?
Matthew 6: 1-5 Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them;
otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is heaven.
When therefore you give alms, do not sound a trumpet before you as the
hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be honoured
by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But when you give
alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing; that your
alms may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will repay you.
And when you pray, you are not to be as the hypocrites; for they love to stand
and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners, in order to be seen by
men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full.
The passage above certainly flies in the face of today`s cult of self esteem. Of course we are all to do good to our fellow man for this is a noble pursuit. In this age of reality TV and celebrity fund raising, however, we must let as many people know of our good deeds as is possible. If others see and approve of our "alms" then we will feel important and special. Someone might ask what is wrong with that? Well Scripture seems to teach that we are to help out our fellowman but that we are not to put the focus on ourselves in any way. We are not to use someone`s misfortune or our piety to elevate ourselves in the eyes of others. It isn`t about us. It is about being faithful servants and seeking the approval of our Master.