"I'm OK, You're OK" is a self-help book on "Transitional Analysis". It's one of the four life positions: 1) I'm not OK, you're OK, 2) I'm not OK, you're not OK, 3) I'm OK, you're not OK and 4) I'm OK, you're OK. The entire theory is based on the idea that those in authority should not use evaluative words to describe: lazy, stupid, childish, naughty, should do, shouldn't do, etc. The book is a guide for raising children.
OK? In the context of the author "OK" means that the person is healthy and acceptable and that their life is in good order. "Not OK" would mean that a person is dysfunctional. They're not operating to the optimum in their environment.
Suppose a person is lazy! Should we not let the person know that laziness is unsatisfactory? According to the psychologists, no one should not. That's judgmental!
From a Christian's perspective, let's look at this one judgmental statement.
Proverbs 10:4 (NIV) "Lazy hands make for poverty, but diligent hands bring wealth."
Hebrews 6:12 (NIV) "We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised."
Proverbs refers to industriousness. Hebrews refers to those of little faith. Neither are okay. We all know that lazy people are rarely successful and that few souls are saved by lazy people.
Let's look at another judgmental word: "Liar". "You little liar, you!" the mother said to the child. Psychologists would tell you that this is judgmental. If a child lies, it's being untruthful! Rebuking lies is not judgmental, it's what scripture tells us to do! However, the shallow Christians who languish in their sin of preference is always ready to say "Judge not, that ye be not judged (Matthew 7 ). However, that's not "the rest of the story"!
John 7:24 "Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment."
The definition of "judge" spans the spectrum from "having an opinion" to "condemnation". We are never to condemn because that same condemnation can be used against our self! John 7:24 is in line with the intent of scripture "to admonish, correct and rebuke"! We cannot even chance telling a person about Jesus unless we have the opinion that they are unsaved. Having that opinion IS judging! You see, the warning on judging others is that we be loving in our motives, not destructive. We're not to judge harshly because if we do, Jesus may use the same harsh (unfair) judgment against us!
Now, let's get back to "I'm OK, you're OK". Is that truth? If we are not in a meaningful relationship and in balance with our environment we're not OK! What makes us "out of balance? Sin is the correct answer! Sin is doing what's wrong. Sin not only is irreverent to God, but harms the family and society as well.
Romans 3:23 "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;"
ALL includes children. Children lie, trick, manipulate and probably much more. They are guilty, but because of their immaturity, are held unaccountable until they understand. That doesn't mean that they're not sinners. It means only that God is gracious and patient! Hence, we've all sinned, none are OKAY and even children are NOT OKAY! By allowing children to believe that they're okay is short-circuiting salvation.
Mark 6:12 "And they went out, and preached that men should repent."
Now isn't that just swell. The apostles judged that people were sinners and in need of repentance! The apostles said "I'm not OK, you're not OK"! It's okay to tell people truth; the truth they already know in their heart. By failing to teach children that they do wrong is squelching their conscious. How can one feel guilty for sinning (which is required for repentance) when "I'm OK, you're OK"?
Now is the time for confession "I wasn't OK and you may not be OK either". This is a fifth choice! Before I was saved, I certainly was not OK! I was out of God's will, I made my family more dysfunctional, I was untrue to friendships and I broke civil laws. Before salvation one must come to the realization "I'm NOT OK"! Now, "I'm still NOT OK, but I'm forgiven"! Yes, I am spiritually OK when I ask Jesus to forgive my NOT OK's! You need to try that if you haven't, but come to realize that as a Christian you're still a sinner; an unfinished work!
The entire concept of self-esteem is not of the Lord! It's a man-made humanistic idea. Credit is due to humanists because they take the credit for developing it! Credit goes where credit is due. Scripture tells us to have a servantile attitude and to be meek. James goes further:
James 4:6 "But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.
7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.
9 Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness.
10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up."
First off, James wasn't a "transitional analyst"! He called people "sinners" and referred to them as "double-minded". He judged them and although it sounds harsh, the judgment was an opinion, not a condemnation, although he was warning them about being condemned by Jesus.
Humility as in "being humble" is meekness. Although meekness is seeing oneself in the proper perspective, someday God tells us "the meek shall inherit the earth" (Matthew 5:5)! How should we see ourselves? As servants as we "submit ourselves".
As for the self-esteem part, I see the entire concept of "feeling good about yourself" as "Christ-esteem. You should never feel good about yourself (I'm NOT OKAY) unless you are a servant to Christ. In fact we are to humble ourselves and let the Lord lift us up (Verse 10 above)! That's Christ-esteem!
Assuming that you aren't humble, how would you know? It may be that someone needs to tell you! By telling (teaching) one is being evaluative, even judgmental. That's at odds with "I'm OK, you're OK". "Humbling oneself" means change; change for the positive. To make the change we all must see ourselves as "Not OK". We all need to change! We must be disgusted with "the me" inside me. That "me" is sin! It's the original sin that resides in all mankind. We are all prone to sin often because of that trait inherited from Adam. No one is immune. Saying "I like being me!' without the changes commanded by Jesus, is "self-worship". You are worshiping "I"! That's idolatry and is at the heart of rebellion!
Change now. Put the self aside! Realize that "You're not OK"! You're just like me "I'm not OK". However, Jesus is fine with not being OK if we're a changed person and are dealing with the places where "I'm OK" through sorrow and repentance. Moan and groan (repent because you're NOT OK) and let the Lord lift you up! The sixth position is "I'm OK because Jesus saved me!"