The Pharisees Had High Self-Esteem

Luke 18:9-14, Pharisee and tax collector, Pharisee and Publican, pride, self-esteem
"American society seems to believe that self-esteem is the cure all for every social ill, from bad grades to teen pregnancies to violence. But there has been no evidence that boosting self-esteem actually helps with these problems ... When people highly value self-esteem, they may avoid doing things such as acknowledging a wrong they did."* 

This quote is from a purely secular study. But it's interesting how clearly it confirms the truths of God's Word: 

The Pharisee in Luke 18:9-14  was confident, secure and had high self-esteem:
"The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector.'"

The tax collector had poor self-esteem: "But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’"

It is the perspective of the tax collector that pleases God (Psalm 51:17). Genuine repentance, humility, and gratitude are keys to spiritual growth.

*Ohio State University & Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory.


  1. Interesting...I always thought of my low self-esteem from my childhood as a hindrance. But maybe it hasn't been. My early years I was berated by my father, made to feel stupid and ugly, but that has only made me more sensitive to others. Maybe that was God's plan after all.

    1. I'm sorry that your father berated you, Gail. That was definitely not God's will for him to treat you that way. But you are so right that God can use those things to make us more sensitive to others and even more sensitive to our own sins.
      Sometimes the really bad things in our lives become our greatest sources of ministry.
      And it's a comfort to know that our heavenly Father loves and values us.

    2. This is desperately needed today, for we live in a culture of me-ism, Christian book stores have far more books on 'self esteem, self worth, self, Self, nauseam.

    3. Amen!
      We never even talk about sin in church
      We do not even mention the name of sin.
      Not sure what else to say
      In Christ


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