As parents and teachers we often try to instill self esteem in our children. “You are valuable”, “Your are unique”, “You are special” and so on. And there is some truth to each of these. However, to a large degree they are only half truths and these half truths can be dangerous because they can feed our human arrogance and self obsession that already dominates our age. Just note all the advertisements that push the idea that “You are the most important person in the world.” This goes directly against the Christian message of “loving the other” and service; agape love.
If you search the Scriptures for the phrase “in Christ” it becomes obvious that the apostle Paul uses this extensively. For example in Romans 8:1 “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Paul tells us that our esteem comes not from self but from faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The value we have as human beings is directly linked to the being and actions of Christ. He is the foundation of our value and purpose as a human being.
So when we tell our children they are special we should not leave out the foundation of that value. It is Jesus who paid for us and redeemed us. Or to put it more bluntly, esteem outside of Christ is self delusion.