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FROM LOVE TO LICENSE
By Paul Proctor
June 20, 2003
Plastic surgery is not a new procedure by any stretch of the imagination. It�s been around for decades. What IS new is something called the �extreme makeover�. It is so popular that a television show was recently developed around the idea of taking someone who is visually offensive and transforming them through surgery, diet, dentistry, dress, makeup, and hairstyling into someone more physically attractive. Even a child learns early in life that human nature generally responds more favorably to those that are beautiful than to those that are ugly.
Virtually everyone interviewed after receiving an extreme makeover claims to have gained a much higher self-esteem � a confidence that purportedly makes him or her more desirable, more sociable, more productive and happier all around. It is truly amazing what can now be achieved medically to make one more pleasing to the eye of beholders.
Many churches today are undergoing extreme makeovers as well � believing that an improved appearance will attract greater numbers. Hired consultants are being brought in to assist the church with its poor self-esteem that we might become more socially acceptable (relevant) to a world that craves fun, fashion, wealth, beauty and excitement. You see, somewhere along the way a lot of us were persuaded that winning the blessings and favor of the world was the equivalent of winning the blessing and favor of God and that His approval was easily measurable by attendance and applause. Of course, believing this is no more scriptural than believing rich people are Christians by virtue of their opulence.
Gone are the wrinkles of tradition past, the aging wear of reverence, solemnity, temperance, wisdom and maturity and the scriptural disciplines and personal sacrifice that once marked the child of God. Today it�s all about having fun and feeling good about yourself and those that feel good about you � making it easier to believe that God loves us because we love ourselves. This is the crux of today�s self-esteem-based Christianity � a vain attempt to love oneself into divine favor.
But what is �self-esteem�? Look it up in a dictionary if you�re not sure. It is defined best by a single word; �PRIDE�. Self-esteem is self-pride. You can slice it and dice it any way you want to make it appear valid and acceptable before a just and holy God by saying self-esteem involves more than just pride � that it�s also about self-worth, self-respect, self-love, self-help, self-improvement and self-confidence, but the fact remains; IT ALL REVOLVES AROUND SELF. And THAT, my brainwashed brothers and sisters in Christ, is what�s wrong with �self-esteem� � the focus is always on self.
Regardless of a person�s abilities or disabilities, teaching them to be proud of their self FOR ANY REASON is the opposite of what the bible teaches. Raising one�s self-esteem may sound clinically healthy and compassionate and be practiced in intellectual and psychological circles the world over as the cure-all for whatever ails you emotionally � but in reality, it is a lie as old as Lucifer�s fall from Heaven. Self-esteem is the wide gate and the broad way that leads to destruction because as long as you are proud, you�ll never see yourself as anyone in need of repentance and forgiveness. You�ll always be focused on mirrors, ever looking for more ways to be loved by others instead of looking for more ways to love them as God does. Why is it then, so many Christians from the pulpit on down treat self-esteem as if it were the fruit of the Spirit?
So what�s wrong with a little self-esteem? It�s like leaven. A little goes a long way and it�s pervasive. Have you ever noticed when someone begins boasting about who they are, what they have or what they do � that others around them eventually follow suit and start bragging themselves?
�A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.� � Galatians 5:9
Judgment doesn�t come at the first sign of sin. If it did, we�d all be long gone. Judgment falls on pride� an unrelenting self-esteem that laughs at forgiveness. It wasn�t the presence of sexual deviancy that brought fire and brimstone down on Sodom and Gomorrah. They didn�t invent depravity. It was the self-esteem that accompanied it � a pride in perversion that redefined good into evil and evil into good. Homosexuality wasn�t an alternative lifestyle lobbying for equal rights on the plain of Jordan. It was a degeneracy that roamed the streets of the city banging on doors with a brazenness that struck fear in the hearts of men.
Christians today just don�t get it. They watch the events of Gay Pride Week on the evening news and rage at what they see. But, it�s what they don�t see that poses the greater danger. They don�t see themselves. They miss the message behind the madness that God is sending us in all His mercy and longsuffering. He�s painting a sordid picture to show us what we look like from His perspective � an ugly and obstinate people that have turned love into license.
You see, gay pride isn�t about homosexuality; it�s about self-esteem � parading our filth before God and men as if it were something to be proud of and daring anyone to object.
�When pride cometh, then cometh shame: but with the lowly is wisdom�. � Proverbs 11:2
� 2003 Paul Proctor - All Rights Reserved
Paul Proctor, a rural resident of the Volunteer state and seasoned veteran of the country music industry, retired from showbiz in the late 1990's to dedicate himself to addressing important social issues from a distinctly biblical perspective. As a freelance writer and regular columnist for NewsWithViews.com, he extols the wisdom and truths of scripture through commentary and insight on cultural trends and current events. His articles appear regularly on a variety of news and opinion sites across the internet and in print. Paul may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org�
"Many churches today are undergoing extreme makeovers as well � believing that an improved appearance will attract greater numbers. Hired consultants are being brought in to assist the church with its poor self-esteem that we might become more socially acceptable..."