Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Achieving Low Self-Esteem

This is a story from The Reason for God by Tim Keller (pages 167-168):

"Andrew Delbanco is a humanities professor at Columbia University. Some years ago he was doing research on Alcoholics Anonymous and was attending AA meetings around the country. One Saturday morning in a New York City church basement he was listening to a 'crisply dressed young man' who was talking about his problems. In his narrative he was absolutely faultless. All his mistakes were due to the injustice and betrayals of others. He spoke of how he was going to avenge himself on all who had wronged him. 'His every gesture gave the impression of grievously wounded pride,' Delbanco wrote. It was clear that the young man was trapped in his need to justify himself, and that things could only get worse and worse in his life until he recognized this. While he was speaking, a black man in his forties, in dreadlocks and dark shades, leaned over to Delbanco and said, 'I used to feel that way too, before I achieved low self-esteem.'

"...By 'low self-esteem' the man in the dreadlocks did not mean the young man should come to hate himself. He meant that the well-dressed young man was 'lost in himself' until he could admit he was a very flawed human being, a sinner. He would never be liberated to see his own flaws in their true light, or forgive those who had wronged him, or to humbly seek and receive forgiveness from others."


Warren Baldwin said...

Great story! And so true! I've never read one of Keller's books but I've read a number of blog posts that quote his works. I think I need to read some of them! Good post.

Terry said...

I have read only The Reason for God, and have found a lot of good stories and ideas in it. I think you might like it, too, Warren. Thanks for the comment!