Biblical View of the Self

Sarah Bowman
Sarah Bowman, I’ve read the Bible, still read it, and also secular stuff.

There are quite a few things in the Bible about the self-worth of humans but they are very negative:

  • deny yourself Luke 9:23 King James Version (KJV)

23 And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.

6 But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people.

  • I was born in sin Psalm 51:5 King James Version (KJV)

5 Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.

  • I must repent of who and what I was at birth Matthew 4:17 King James Version (KJV)

17 From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

Revelation 3:3 King James Version (KJV)

3 Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.

That is a tiny example. The message of the Bible is that without blood sacrifice that atones for my sinfulness (animal sacrifice correctly performed before Jesus’ crucifixion; Jesus’ death and resurrection ever since) I am nothing. If, and only if, I repent and accept the atonement of the divinely-sanctioned blood sacrifice will I be acceptable to God. If I meet those conditions, God is loving kindness, just and merciful, quick to forgive, etc. The preachers say I am so valuable to God that he sent his only begotten son to die for me so that I might have eternal life (John 3:16).

But no one asked me if I wanted eternal life. Or even an earthly life.

When I let go of the biblical self-image and started believing in myself as a good enough person in my own right, I was able to start on the long difficult road of recovery to a healthy human self-image. The biblical self-image causes parents, teachers, preachers, and even governments to put down those under their authority and to keep them in submission. It is the only way the biblical self-image allows for law and order, for the control of society. The humanistic self-image allows people to feel good about themselves and to behave well and kindly because it feels good. But that is off-topic.


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