Saturday, November 08, 2008

Self-Hatred and Dying to Self

Not everyone is born or lives their live with their psyche intact and their self-esteem healthy. It is especially damaging to want to die to self or to pick up one's cross when one's self-esteem is less than perfect.

It takes great effort to distrust self and trust Christ more and more when one has a less than ideal opinion of oneself. If one experiences failure after failure in the Christian walk, that only adds to one's sense of self-loathing and hopelessness. This brings up the challenge: can only those who are enjoying maximum mental health effectively die to self?

Unfortunately, sometimes Christians equate a close walk with Christ with self-worth. Since it is easier to follow the savior for some more than others, some Christians despise themselves because they have fallen short of that intimate relationship with Christ.

It is very important to divorce one's self-worth and self-image from whether or not one is living a victorious Christian life.

To paraphrase Mart Crowley, "You may one day know and enjoy a Christian life if you pursue it with the same purpose with which you annihilate yourself, but you'll always be a sinner. Always--until the day you die."

It's important to communicate this reality especially to teenagers or anyone with the propensity to over identify their self-worth with success in the Christian life. The list of people who may be at risk are some of the following: perfectionists, neurotics, bi-polar individuals, insecure people, abused individuals. The list goes on and on.

When one sins, whether it be sins of passion, of omission or commission, whatever sin one seems to be battling with, it's important not to berate oneself with yet another failure. When one sins one should console oneself with the knowledge that yes, Jesus forgives us and loves us in spite of our sins. One should also remind oneself that when one sins, one is is good company with the rest of the human race.

It's not an easy or healthy life to identify yourself with your own sinfulness, however. Such identification can only lead to greater mental disease.

It's very encouraging to read the bible and notice how many people sin and grievously, e.g., David, Moses, Judas--well maybe not Judas as his story does not have a good ending. But you get my drift. The good book is a compendium of sinner's stories with most stories having a good ending. It also contains sinners who were not as fortunate, e.g., Absalom, King Saul, Judas Iscariot, and the whore of Babylon. While she was figurative, I did want to include at least one female in the list.

Christianity may very well be ideally suited for people born with and continually blessed with a healthy personality and mind. The rest of society should proceed with the greatest of caution.

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