It is crucial for you to know that excellence is not the same as extremism. Just because God expects you to be excellent, He doesn't expect you to be an extremist. Setting high standard for yourself is good but demanding perfectionism is being extremist. Perfectionism is different from excellence. Perfectionism does not allow for mistake. Each time, it is not good enough and you blame yourself for not getting it right. Being an extremist can lead to depression, being suicidal and low self-esteem. This is not excellence.
Source:by David Seragih. Sermon Alive. May 14, 2008.
David's site is on our Blogroll. I'm a member of his community of readers on MyBlogLog. I receive regular emails from him letting me know when he's posted a new series. He writes in series, which is fine.
Now, I like David's efforts. He works hard in trying to open the scripture for others and for himself. He lives in Indonesia, from my understanding, the most heavily populated Muslim nation in the world. However, he openly professes that he is a practicing Christian. [Correction: He lives in Singapore but visits Indonesia to do volunteer work.]
David focuses a great deal upon Christian principles in the capitalist workplace. (Let me add that David is aware and has written as such that money isn't needed in Heaven. So let us pray, "in Earth as it is in Heaven!)
Concerning the snippet above from one of his posts, I'd like to take the opportunity to point out how terms as they are used today must be qualified to fit them with terms as Jesus used them.
I'd like to address the following terms from a plain and clear scriptural standpoint: Excellence, extremism or extremist, perfectionism, and self-esteem.
Let's read Jesus's own words.
Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect. Matthew 5:48
Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me. Matthew 19:21
He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. John 12:25
Okay, so we know that Jesus said to be perfect. He also said how to do it.
Jesus said be perfect. Perfection is the extreme. It is excellent: The highest, the finest: God Most High, God in the highest.
Obviously David is using the terms more as they have come to be used today. I say to you that how the terms have only come to be used today if we adhere to them, will cause us to fall short. We will not be moved to give all and share all with all for all in the fullest spirit of righteousness. We will rather hoard for self, which is error. It is selfishness that is inherent in capitalism, commerce, business, and love of mammon.
As for low self-esteem, we are to hate ourselves in the worldly world. However, we are to persevere. At the same time we are to hate ourselves, we are to love others as we love ourselves. This presents a paradox to most, but it need not. It is why we have the term love/hate. We say such and such is a love/hate relationship. This is proper. We hate evil and we love goodness. We seek to overcome evil and to have it removed from our hearts while we love the goodness that is already there displacing that evil. We also hold the same concerning all other souls.
The way in which "low self-esteem" is commonly being used comes out from antichrist psychology. Not all that passes off as psychology is antichrist mind you. Psychology's true meaning is the study of the soul after all. Jesus was a psychologist in that sense of course.
Many (and it's obvious that David isn't calling for this) use the existence of "low self-esteem" as proof of the wrongness of whatever it is that is giving rise to a guilty conscience. Many psychologists and psychiatrists (certainly not all) use this method to promote via their so-called expert opinions, supposedly proven by or backed up by scientific studies (often bad methodology and especially bad interpretation — lack of greater comprehension), that all sorts of harmful behaviors, such as homosexuality, aren't harmful but even beneficial to the self-esteem of the one acting out.
It's obfuscation. Homosexuality is harmful, always. "Homosexuals: What they ignore."
Therefore, low self-esteem is the exact right emotional state if one has been doing exactly what the conscience convicts them not to do.
So, what is one to do then? Well, pray, ask for God's guidance, repent. Forgive others for their trespasses, as we want to be forgiven for our own. Atone. Spread the good news about right versus wrong, unselfishness versus selfishness, giving versus greed, and peace versus violence and war. Spread the good news about turning, repenting, forgiving and being forgiven, atoning, and saving and being saved.
It's not depressing at all in that light. It's glorious. It's beautiful. Be encouraged. Be enthusiastic about it. It's Heaven bound.
If you finish reading David's series, you will see that much of what I've said here ends up fitting.