Max on Life: Balancing Self-Esteem and Humility

Over the next few weeks, beloved author of our Hermie and Friends series, Max Lucado, will be sharing parts of his new book. Max on Life. In this new book, Lucado tackles some of life’s toughest questions, while giving his classic encouragement and insight. We hope you enjoy this miniseries!

Max on Life: Balancing Self-Esteem and Humility

We’re trying to teach our children humility, but at the same time we don’t want to destroy their self-esteem. What would you say is a good balance?

There are two verses, both found in Philippians, that you should teach your kids because they balance the spectrum of humility and self-esteem.

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. (2:3)

I can do everything through him [God] who gives me strength. (4:13)

Philippians 2:3 says to treat others better than myself.

Philippians 4:13 says God treats me well.

The first says others are more worthy than I am.

The second says I am worthy because God uses me.

The first says I am lower than others.

The second says I am greater because of God’s strength.

Self-esteem is what people see when they look in the mirror—what they understand as their value. A constant diet of “you’re not important; others are” certainly seems to devalue a person. But it doesn’t have to, as long as you remember the second verse. You are strong.

One characteristic we don’t find in Jesus is a lack of confidence. He took on the Pharisees, braved angry crowds, stood his ground when others twisted his words, went to the cross confident of his mission, and all the while “did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45).

Teach your child to be a confident servant who knows his purpose in serving others and loves his boss because his boss loved him first and gives him all the strength he needs to face the world.