The Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness is a 2012 book on Christianity by Timothy Keller. Here, Keller uses 1 Corinthians 3:21-4:7 as the basis to explain what it means to be a “gospel-humble” person.
In the above passage, Saint Paul tells the Corinthians that he does not care how they judge him, for he does not even care to judge himself; he only allows God to judge him. This level of “self-forgetfulness,” as Keller puts it, frees a person from both pride and insecurity. Neither sins nor accomplishments are connected to identity; identity and self-worth are instead based entirely on the righteousness imputed to the believer by Christ.
Keller’s message is, quite frankly, a hard teaching, and one that seems to be of particular difficulty to the modern West, which tends to be so comparison-based and self-focused. Indeed, the biblical position on self-esteem presented here seems to be alien to many believers.
This is an extremely short work (less than 50 pages); it’s not much more than an expanded sermon. As such, there’s plenty of room for expansion in a number of areas, including and especially as to how the reader goes about becoming “gospel-humble.”
The Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness is, in short, an excellent introduction to an important aspect of the Christian life; however, it is little more than an introduction.