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Saturday, December 12, 2009

When We Hate Ourselves

Many people who know better than to hate someone else can hate themselves without any twinge of conscience. Hating themselves almost seems like the righteous thing to do. I believe that it is as evil to hate yourself as it is to hate anyone else.

People who hate themselves have huge disappointments in their lives. It may be that they didn't get the love of a parent as a child. A child reasons that only a terrible person wouldn't be loved by his parents. Maybe they weren't the athlete or scholar that other siblings were. They may have heard their parents speak of these disappointments. Who can disappoint their parents and expect to love themselves?

Self-hatred plagues these people all of their lives. They may even cause their own failures. Any attempt to succeed is met with a self defeating prophecy. "I am not this good," they say on the front nine of the course. Then, they fulfill their prediction by the way the play the back nine. "I will never be able to keep this weight off," they say after and the initial success of a diet. Of course, they slip back into their old habits and gain more than they ever lost.

People who hate themselves may even sabotage their own marriages. "How could anyone love someone like me?" they ask. They act in ways to make sure that their spouse matches their own expectations. Or, it may be that they choose a abusing spouse. They may feel they deserve all the abuse.

On the other hand, people who hate themselves can be cruel too. They cannot afford to have anyone love them. The love of another person does not fit into their paradigm of how they think of themselves. They may be comfortable only when they know everyone feels the same way as they do. Therefore, they may be ruthless in their dealings with others. In the office he is known as a self-serving, pompous jerk.

Strange, but people who hate themselves may also be big blowhards. They may tell you all the time how good they are at whatever you are doing. They are trying to convince themselves that they have some worth. They are hoping you will help them not hate themselves so much.

Hating ourselves is at the base level of our self confidence. It will destroy all other relationships. It will severely affect our work and even our fun. It is evil so we must quit thinking of yourself as doing right when we hate ourselves.

One day I told a guy that Jesus had died for him. I told him that Jesus died so that this man could be forgiven of everything he had ever done. I told him of Jesus love for him. The man cried out over and over to me, "I am so worthless, I am so worthless!"

"No," I told him, "you are worth the blood of the Son of God. God would never have sent His Son to die for someone who was worthless."

We may be sinners but we are never worthless. We are never to hate ourselves. We are never to mar the image of God that has been place upon us. We are loved by the Almighty Himself. Hating ourselves makes Him appear to be foolish. How could God be wrong about the love that He has for us?

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ--by grace you have been saved-- and raised us up with Him and seated us with Him in the the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages He might show the immeasurable riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. Ephesians 2:4-7 (ESV)

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