Many people from their youth have been taught a salvation by works narrative. I do not mean someone said to them this is how you get saved, but that someone taught them that if they want to count for something they need to do certain things.
The American version of this teaching says, “Do good in school, get into a good college, land a good job, and then you will live the good life.” There is nothing wrong with wanting to do good in school or land a good job. However, that messaging can easily become a salvation by works narrative. We can begin to think that if we do not do good in school or fail to land that job, somehow it diminishes our worth.
Disney and the promoters of the self-esteem movement have said similar things, like, “You can be whatever you want, if you put your mind to it.” I suppose they were trying to tell kids not to let other people tell them what they cannot do. However, that messaging can easily be turned into a salvation by works narrative. If someone really puts their mind to something but fails to achieve it, does their worth diminish?Continue reading