The first day of my new fourth grade class was a day I’ll never forget. It was the middle of the year, and our
family had moved. I’m 60 years old now, but I’ll never forget the shame I felt that day. What is so amazing to me
is not what I did that day. What is so memorable is how I responded.
What did I do? Sitting in a seat near the back of the classroom, I dropped my pencil! The embarrassment
was so profound you’d have thought that I had dropped my pants. Just that little thing drew attention to me and I
buried my face in my hands. That was a sign of trouble.
At that age I didn’t think about how normal or abnormal it was for dad to have a very bad temper. I’d seen
him go as far as raise a butcher knife to my mentally imbalanced mom. The constant abuse in the home went a long
way in contributing to a very shaky sense of well-being.
It took years of seeking the knowledge of God and understanding the truth of my childhood years to
overcome the fear, anger and hurt that seemed to haunt my life.
What I want to do in this book is pass on just a few of the principles that have been formed out of a search
for wholeness and peace of mind.
Respect - esteem, honor, value, dignity, privilege
Matt 5:44-48 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and
pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He
makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those
who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet your
brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? 48 Therefore you shall be
perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.
How many have felt this way. “I can love my enemies. It’s my friends that I have a hard time with.” It’s
often the people that we expect will always make us feel good that often make us feel bad. Or to put it more
accurately, it’s our attitude that often makes us feel bad about our friends.
The word, enemies, from the Hebrew is the word, sane. Interesting! It means everything from being set
against to intense hatred. It may also refer to being unloved, distrusted, or alienated. It is used of David towards
his son, Absalom. Joab accused David of loving the man who was ruining David’s rule. David here instead showed
respect for his son. He loved him because he was his son. His status and David’s attitude toward him was deeper
than his negative actions.
The word that Jesus used in Matt. 5:44 means hateful or ‘to hate’ as an adversary. It pictures one who is
actively hostile or opposed to you. We ought not think of everyone who opposes something about us such as our
opinion, political persuasion, or taste in a thing to be our enemy. But it can feel that way, and we can treat someone
that way without calling them an enemy. Jesus says that the one about whom we sense as an adversary, or hostile,
or opposed to us is one that we should deem worthy of our respect. He goes on to show that our attitude of love
is intended to be a reflection of who we are, not who they are in their own right. He says, “Do so because of
who and what you are to be.” Therefore, don’t let others shape who you are!
The highest form of self-respect that we can display is the confidence that allows us to be willing to
forgive our enemies and even give our lives for them, should the occasion arise. You see, genuine self-
sacrificing love is the highest expression and the perfection that displays healthy self-respect, for it is what we have
been called to become!! It is virtually impossible if we do not have a healthy self-respect. It is something that alone
will give us the ability to properly judge situations around us and to walk in the light. It alone bears the pain because
that pain can not destroy who you are. It is something further that marks a perfect man because his self-respect is
not based upon his performance, but God’s design and grace of and towards him. So here we can defeat a lie by
declaring, “pain can not destroy who I am in Christ.”
Self-esteem is a term used in psychology to reflect a person's overall evaluation or appraisal of his or her own
worth. Abraham Maslow, for example, included self-esteem in his hierarchy of needs. He described two different
forms of esteem: the need for respect from others and the need for self-respect, or inner self-esteem. Respect
from others entails recognition, acceptance, status, and appreciation, and was believed to be more fragile and easily
lost than inner self-esteem. According to Maslow, without the fulfillment of the self-esteem need, individuals will
be driven to seek it and unable to grow and obtain self-actualization.
Eph 1:3-6 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing
in the heavenly places in Christ, 4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be
holy and without blame before Him in love, 5 having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself,
according to the good pleasure of His will, 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted
in the Beloved.
We are not of great value because Christ died for us. Christ died for us because we are of great value. God
sent His Son to die for us because He loved us. We were of great value in His eyes. Though sinned marred our
character more deeply than humanity could ever comprehend, God saw the hidden value of His creation and was
not willing to give up on it. You and I are not junk. Christ has released us from the sin that hides, corrupts
and renders powerless our value. Without Him our value is never realized.
Fundamental self-respect is not really something that we can earn. It is too high and too great. It is only
something that we discover. Without this discovery our lives take on the characteristics of low self-respect. We
act according to our fallen nature instead of our created potential. Respect at it’s deepest spiritual roots is not
something made by us. It is created by God.
Psychologists insist that respecting others is impossible until we learn to respect ourselves. They believe
that individuals, lacking in self-respect, are mistakenly too focused on helping others and not taking care of their
own needs. Rob’s childhood consisted of multiple divorces and eventually leaving home at 15. He finally earned
a high school diploma at 21. During his first years of marriage he faced frequent unemployment and serious credit
issues. Rob’s self-worth plummeted. Then a door of opportunity opened. Now Rob is a top salesperson in his firm,
the recipient of awards and bonuses. In climbing the ladder of success, Rob admires (respects) the fact that he
succeeded without a college degree. Rob expects esteem from everyone around him. If he doesn’t receive approval,
he responds with disrespect. The self-respect that Rob learned to give himself is based on self-centeredness.
Self-respect is affected by how we react to someone complimenting us. The more times we give little regard
to a compliment, the more secure our self-respect becomes. Suppose someone compliments our ability to play a
musical instrument or to use a pair of scissors. Should the success or failure of either skill affect our self-respect?
Naturally, we accept compliments graciously, with appreciation for their sincerity. Our self-respect is affected when
we accept compliments selfishly, with application to our identity. How can we protect our self-respect? The first
step is changing our focus from a selfish GET mentality to a selfless GIVE mentality (Philippians 2:3-4).
Phil 2:2-4 fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. 3 Let
nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than
There is nothing admirable about feeding our own egos. Admiration or devotion to ourselves and our
accomplishments is a form of idol worship. An idol is anything placed between you and God (Ephesians 5:5). Even
the apostle Paul did not judge his own motives or rely on accolades from others. “. . . Well, it matters very little
what you or anyone else thinks. I don’t even trust my own judgment on this point. My conscience is clear, but that
isn’t what matters. It is the Lord himself who will examine me and decide” (1 Corinthians 4:3-4).
The following questions may arise: “Does that mean I shouldn’t treat myself well at all? Am I showing
humility if I treat myself badly?” You are held in high regard by God (Ephesians 1:4-5). From, All About Life
Those who live their lives to gain self respect or react out of a lack of such are those demonstrating the sin
nature founded in unbelief. True reception of self-respect is modeled not by living to attain it, but rather it is
portrayed by one who gives because he has it well in hand. The self-esteem that is measured against the lives
and achievements of others is self-centered. The divine esteem that God gives us is God centered and focused on
Matt 6:26 Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly
Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?
“Why are you worried about what you need? Don’t you already know your value?” In that space between
you and me, if you don’t have a healthy self-respect coming into relationship, then whatever dialogue fills that space
is going to be something that you look for respect from. If you’re life is constantly, inwardly searching to see
if someone likes you, then eventually they will wind up not liking you. You are trying to suck the life right out
of them when it’s intended to come from God. If you don’t have a healthy self-respect then the world will always
be a hostile place to you, even the Christian world. Your lasting relationships will be few.
Luke 12:7 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than
Fear is one of the potential symptoms of little self-respect. Jesus begins this passage by talking about
fearing God and not men.
What I want to show you now is how fear is fueled easily in those who do not embrace divine self-respect.
Matt 10:27-31 "Whatever I tell you in the dark, speak in the light; and what you hear in the ear, preach on
the housetops. 28 And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able
to destroy both soul and body in hell. 29 Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls
to the ground apart from your Father's will. 30 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 Do not fear
therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.
There are those who have to have people agree with them. They can’t handle criticism and false accusations.
Injustices done to them bring lifelong offences. This leads to lifelong inner vows that become life patterns
or boxes that limit their potential. As I said before, it usually also leads to misjudgements of others. But if you
are going to be faithful in the light, it’s going to come from respecting God more than you respect man. This godly
fear is sorely lacking in the Church today. It is precisely the reason that people continually leave over offences that
don’t even exist. Anyone called into ministry, whether it be as a full time gospel preacher or one that works with
youth, or children, or anything that involves working with other people needs to get this right.
Jesus says, “Fear God, not man.” Then He couples that with the statement, “You are of great value.” In
other words, God is your source, and He is the one you answer to. You see the One who provides for you is always
the One you must answer to. If He enables you then He becomes the One to whom you are accountable for what
you have been freely given. So is it true in the natural. You don’t get trained and get wages from your boss and then
accuse him, waste what you have been given, and not expect to be fired for it. Who your source is becomes your
judge in that dimension.
You see, when we recognize where our ‘bread is buttered’ we naturally and inwardly should seek to accept
the judgement and evaluation of our life from that source. That’s healthy and proper. It is natural respect and honor
given. That’s why parents so often say, “As long as I’m providing a roof over your head and food and clothes for
you, you’re going to abide by my rules.” If we can’t respect God, we certainly aren’t going to hold the concept of
self-respect!!! This is how self-respect so easily goes astray. To attempt to honor one’s self without honoring God
will always end in defeat and misery. You see, self-respect is not about living on a moral, spiritual island where
you are the only one that exists. Self-respect has a relationship aspect that ties us to our world.
As God is our source, self-respect is something given and received. It is not something developed through
performance and gifting. It is a divine right that is acknowledged only in right relationship with our Creator.
I have said that our value was determined before we ever even accepted Christ. Now, we know that there
is nothing good in us. The Bible says all of our own righteousness is as filthy rags. It’s hard to have self-respect
with that in place and un-dealt with. The unrighteous may try to embrace the reality of a divine self-respect, but I
do not believe that it is possible to prove it out in our experience without Christ. In other words, we will never be
able to display it without Jesus.
Let’s take a raw look at the reality of divine self-respect, called love, given from Isaiah 43. Isa 42:24-25
Who gave Jacob for plunder, and Israel to the robbers? Was it not the Lord, He against whom we have sinned? For
they would not walk in His ways, Nor were they obedient to His law.
25 Therefore He has poured on him the fury of His anger And the strength of battle; It has set him on fire all around,
Yet he did not know; And it burned him, Yet he did not take it to heart.
From ‘agape’ in John 3:16 - to love, to be full of good-will and exhibit the same
to have a preference for, wish well to, regard the welfare of
of the love with which God regards Christ
to take pleasure in the thing, prize it above other things, be unwilling to abandon it or do without it
"Love can be known only from the actions it prompts. God's love is seen in the gift of His Son, 1 John 4:9,10
"Christian love, whether exercised toward the brethren, or toward men generally, is not an impulse from the feelings,
it does not always run with the natural inclinations, nor does it spend itself only upon those for whom some affinity
is discovered. Love seeks the welfare of all, Rom 15:2, and works no ill to any, 13:8,9,10; love seeks opportunity
to do good to 'all men, and especially toward them that are of the household of the faith,' Gal 6:10.
Isa 43:1-12 But now, thus says the Lord, who created you, O Jacob,And He who formed you, O Israel:"Fear not,
for I have redeemed you;I have called you by your name;You are Mine. 2 When you pass through the waters, I will
be with you;And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you.When you walk through the fire, you shall not be
burned,Nor shall the flame scorch you. 3 For I am the Lord your God,The Holy One of Israel, your Savior;I gave
Egypt for your ransom,Ethiopia and Seba in your place. 4 Since you were precious in My sight,You have been
honored,And I have loved you;Therefore I will give men for you,And people for your life. 5 Fear not, for I am with
you;I will bring your descendants from the east,And gather you from the west; 6 I will say to the north, 'Give them
up!'And to the south, 'Do not keep them back!'Bring My sons from afar,And My daughters from the ends of the earth
— 7 Everyone who is called by My name,Whom I have created for My glory;I have formed him, yes, I have made
8 Bring out the blind people who have eyes,And the deaf who have ears. 9 Let all the nations be gathered
together,And let the people be assembled.Who among them can declare this,And show us former things?Let them
bring out their witnesses, that they may be justified;Or let them hear and say, "It is truth." 10 "You are My
witnesses," says the Lord,"And My servant whom I have chosen,That you may know and believe Me,And
understand that I am He.Before Me there was no God formed,Nor shall there be after Me. 11 I, even I, am the
Lord,And besides Me there is no savior. 12 I have declared and saved,I have proclaimed,And there was no foreign
god among you;Therefore you are My witnesses,"Says the Lord, "that I am God.
The word means "to honor" or "to prefer" in Ex 23:3:
"honor; glory; great quantity; multitude; wealth; reputation [majesty]; splendor."
yaqar means "precious" in the sense of being rare and valuable: "And he took their king's crown from off his head,
the weight whereof was a talent of gold with the precious stones: and it was set on David's head"
Second, the word can focus on the value of a thing: "How excellent is thy loving-kindness, O God!" Ps 36:7.
Third, this word means "weighty" or "noble": "A little foolishness is weightier than wisdom and honor"
Having looked at this we may be ready to hear what’s next. I would guess that perhaps 90% of what is
done in the name of the Lord is done from self-centeredness. The motivation to do good, to expand one’s gifts,
to accomplish something for God is easily hidden behind attempts to lift one’s own sense of self-esteem. I would
further think that the best way to tell if such is the case is to examine what makes us angry, hurt or afraid. You know
those things that cause us to lose sleep at night because of what someone said about us, to us, or something they did
that seems demeaning and abusive. Next, ask yourself how many times you have laid awake at night out of a deep
anguish, the same type of despair or frustration that your neighbor may very well be going to hell. The things that
drag us down are often those things that get at us instead of getting at the reality of eternity without God. It’s so easy
to get after someone or cause a stir when we see someone else who is performing for self-respect, but we are often
just as guilty at heart as the next person. If Christians truly had a handle on this there would be far less heart ache,
far less division, far less quarrels and ministry killing disagreements. Healthy, divine self-respect goes so far in
overcoming the defensiveness and despair that causes our blood pressure to rise.
I’ll tell you this. Before God will pour out His Spirit on this present day Church He’s going to want
to find a people who are going to be faithful to one another and not hold self-centered grudges, or who let
petty offences hold them from fellowship with one another because they’ve been living in a lack of divine self-
respect and replaced it with self life. God is looking for lovers. He’s looking for people who can weather the
storms of conflict, differences, opinions, decisions, etc. and still live in love. The tragedy is not that people and
leaders have not got it figured out, got it perfect, have all the right programs and personalities. It’s that Christians
get a little bit out of joint - and call it a travesty of justice - and can’t get along! The Church has got to the place in
love where it’s no different from the world! Differences? He welcomes them to bring us either to love or to bring
us to get away from each other before we do more eternal damage!
“I will respect myself today as a creation of God. My self-respect does not come from my performance
or my righteousness or my progression in maturity. ‘I ought to be...’ does not fit into my self determination.
‘I am’ is a function of Who made me. I need to learn to treat myself as, and let everything that comes from
me be, a result of who I am as the righteousness of God in Christ. I will no longer permit my soul to take
offence and be so offendable that my relationships deteriorate. My well being will not be determined by what
others do or do not give to me. I will give because of who I am, not who others are. Whether in riches or in
poverty my self-respect will remain in the hands of God and not in my destiny on earth. I will not let people
determine my identity by their judgement of my status, performance, looks or history. I will no longer judge
my value by my own goodness, nor by my failures or successes. My glory will only be in the gift of life that
has been freely given to me by grace. I will not disgrace the goodness of God’s love to me by accepting any
other judgement of me but that which is given in Christ Jesus, my Savior. When I am no longer able to be
corrected or held accountable for my actions it is because I have failed to live up to this determination. If
I hold any grudge, despise any person, or separate myself from any relationship because of the pain they
inflict upon me, it is because I have not yet attained the self-respect that God has given to me. By doing such
I am denying the grace of God in my life and denying the power of God to love and to keep me.”
God has great respect for us in Christ. He says, "Take my value, my worth, my dignity, and wear it as your own.
Humble yourself to forsake your own value, and take mine." Heaven shouts with loud voice at the appearance of
the Savior, "Worthy is the Lamb to receive honor, and power, and glory, and dominion, and blessing." That is
His value, and God has given that value to us in Christ. Accordingly, we are to give that same determination to
others. "I value you so highly, even as an enemy, that I will give my life for you while you spit in my face, assassinate
my character, and destroy my body."