It’s funny how a minor thing can trigger a memory so stay with me on this.

My four-year-old grandson played T-ball this summer and I went to a couple of games to see how he was doing.

Frankly, watching four-year-olds running around bases trying to keep their pants on is a bit of a hoot, but I digress.

I went to his last “game” and at the end of the game which was the end of the season each kid gets a medal-a rather nice one I might add.

It’s good size and has a sizable ribbon to hang it around the child’s neck. In my grandson’s case it came down to his belly button. He is a little guy.

So our bite size ball player and I, his grandma and his dad are leaving the park. I’m a little surprised about the medal and say to my son, ” I guess they all get a medal for not pooping their pants and showing up every week.”

My son laughed and then told me he asked my grandson who was the best player on the team. My grandson replied that he was!

Now I appreciate his enthusiasm and willingness to learn but he was a far cry from the best player on the team. My son had a reality talk with him and pointed out his skill set was being developed and he had to practice, something a four-year-old gets for about 10 minutes and it’s heh look, let’s chase a butterfly.

Fortunately our little guy was more interested in the bag of gummy bears and the bag of potato chips than he was in a medal but the whole experience drew me back to one of the first books I read when I was studying biblical counseling.

The book was The Biblical View of Self-Esteem, Self-Love and Self-Image by Jay E. Adams.

The book was written in the mid-eighties but is now no less valid today perhaps even more so given that the movement has had another 30 years to thoroughly permeate psychology and the church.

There is not a whole lot that can be done about secular psychology but when there is this huge emphasis on positive self-esteem in the church it means that many have migrated from a God-centered theology to a man-at-the-center of all things theology and that has consequences, especially in parenting.

It’s one thing to have your little one know that they are created in the image of God and it’s quite another to use that to promote an unhealthy self-esteem that undermines the fact that the image of God within them Is deeply flawed.

The man-centered theology of self-esteem, self-love and self-image produces pride the mother of all idols (and a child-centered home I might add).

A God-centered theology ought to produce humility and an understanding that we are deeply flawed sinners in great need of a Savior to esteem highly, while we have a realistic appraisal of ourselves.

I think my grandson’s response to the gummy bears and chips was appropriate for a four-year-old and let’s save the medal for when his team wins the Little League World Series when he’s thirteen or so.

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