Cure for Self-Hate

Help If You Hate Yourself

By Grantley Morris

Healing and Compassionate Understanding

* * *

If the way you hate yourself or despise yourself
is sometimes expressed by self-harm or self-inflicted pain,
there is a version of this webpage specifically for you: Cure for Self-harm

Words used to describe self-hate include:

Low Self-Esteem

Inferiority Complex

Poor Self-Image




I beat myself up

I despise myself

I disgust myself

I loathe myself

I hate myself

I知 angry at myself

I知 useless

I知 good for nothing

I知 a loser

I知 an idiot

I知 pathetic

This webpage is of immense significance to the very many of us who sometimes hate ourselves, despise ourselves or suffer from low self-esteem. So revolutionary are the answers to self-hate, that no matter how they are presented they can initially seem off-the-planet or not personally applicable to your situation until you have fully absorbed the entire webpage. So despite any initial qualms, I urge you to keep reading. It can change your life.

Self-loathing and/or self-injury is an exceedingly complex issue because it is an expression of the depths of one痴 humanity. It is a manifestation of a need that totally eclipses animals or machines the need to comprehend complex concepts and emotions and to communicate them with an equally intelligent being. It reveals that you, like all humans, are a breathtakingly intricate, sophisticated and noble being with lofty ideals and a deep yearning to understand and be understood.

As beyond belief as it initially seems, we will discover that our dilemma is not that we are alone and not understood but simply that we have not grasped how totally known, valued and accepted we really are.

In some cases, self-hate originates not from deliberate childhood abuse but from significant people in one痴 life inadvertently giving the dangerously wrong impression that you are not quite good enough to be loved.

Children痴 need for parental love and approval almost rivals their need for oxygen, but even quite good parents can be rather miserly in giving it. It might simply be that the parent especially common in fathers is emotionally reserved and has no idea how much he or she is leaving the child with a gnawing ache for parental affection and/or approval. The result is what can feel like an unfillable hole in the child that refuses to diminish even after the child has matured into a capable adult.

People suffering this way usually downgrade the significance of having felt love-deprived as a child. They see it as minor relative to obvious child abuse but just as malnutrition in childhood can have serious, long-term implications, so can feeling love-starved. An unmet craving for parental approval can not only last a lifetime, it can transmute into a gut-wrenching feeling of inadequacy that produces an endless striving to be 堵ood enough, or even result in self-loathing. Even highly successful people can stagger through life little moved by world acclaim, but desperately pining for their parents approval, and never feeling they can get it. Sometimes an eating disorder, or some other unusual behavior is a manifestation of this desperate attempt to be 堵ood enough.

The critical factor is not how loved, desirable, successful or capable we really are, but how we suppose we measure up. This, in turn, is usually strongly influenced by the self-image we gained during our most impressionable years our childhood.

In cases of blatant abuse, even more devastating than the inflicted physical pain is the long-lasting psychological wounding. Abusers typically try to ease their own conscience for their shameful acts of cruelty by either forcefully declaring or implying that their victims are useless, or worse. The torment they inflict is so emotionally shattering that it leaves an indelible impression on their victims.

Putdowns can have serious implications, however, regardless of whether they come in the form of violent abuse, solely verbal, or only be the rationing of parental love, and regardless of whether the child is correct or mistaken in interpreting it as a putdown. What makes suffering perceived putdowns during one痴 childhood particularly devastating is that not only did they occur during one痴 impressionable years, those treating the child this way were usually older (and therefore smarter), and hence perceived by the child as reliable, authoritative sources of information. Moreover, abusers often keep their bad behavior behind closed doors and are respected by the community or thought by other family members incapable of doing wrong.

Tragically, though not surprisingly, these factors combine to leave survivors with the mistaken but powerful impression that they must have deserved the verbal or physical abuse or the withholding of love that they received.

It might have been so much part of your life that you have accepted it as normal but if you engage in self-hate you have almost certainly been repeatedly and horrifically slandered probably beginning in your most impressionable years. You might have been told by someone whose opinion you respect that you are hopeless, a loser, evil, stupid, or slut or some other putdown. The inevitable consequence is that, like being subjected to years of the cruelest brainwashing, you have come to accept those lies as truth. It has so distorted your perception of yourself that you have most likely deepened the insidious brainwashing still further by repeating the lies to yourself for years.

Like becoming an addict through being forcibly given drugs as a child, repeatedly putting yourself down and telling yourself negative things has become an addiction. Just as knowing that heroin is destroying you does not make it easy to stop, so it is with this habit. Anyone, no matter how smart, who has suffered as you have, would end up this way. A genius finds it just as hard to break an addiction as someone less intelligent. The delusion now feels more real to you than the truth.

Having been subjected to this brainwashing process, makes it a long and difficult process to break out of that highly convincing deception and to begin consistently seeing things as they really are. You can do it but it will take determined effort over a long time.

* * *

Fear of Hope

Dashed hopes especially when repeated a few times can be so agonizing that it is not unusual to consciously or unconsciously decide that rather than risk another bitter episode it is better to crush all hope. Usually, the easiest way to do this is by continually thinking lowly of ourselves. Sometimes we can intensify this to loathing or despising ourselves. I might, for example, think it better to think I値l never achieve anything than risk expecting to achieve and then suffer the pain of dashed hope.

Some people do such things as overeat, dress drably or neglect personal hygiene to kill hope. By having good reason to expect to be rejected, they are not caught off guard or bitterly disappointed when rejection comes. Others engage in the same behavior to repel people because they fear attracting an abuser or fear commitment.

Like someone who chooses to live alone in a cave rather than risk being hit by lightning, such behavior is often an attempt to protect oneself from what are essentially the minor risks of life. To those 菟rotecting themselves this way, however, the risks seem very likely and terrifying dangers. Considering how unlikely it is for such things to devastate people, their view is statistically distorted, but it is usually statistically significant in terms of how often such things occurred in these people痴 own experience. To enjoy life in all its richness, these people need to learn to trust again. We will look at how this can happen.

* * *

Why Are We so Hard on Ourselves?

To help explain why many of us have low self-esteem and are hard on ourselves, I will quote a portion of another webpage of mine: Free Therapy. If you have already read it, feel free to skip to the next section:

    The dangers of low self-esteem are more extensive than most of us realize. So many precious lives have been ruined or tragically shortened by unfounded or hideously distorted feelings of guilt and worthlessness. Young men and women of high morals can become so brainwashed into wrongly thinking themselves to be 奏rash that they end up needlessly cheapening themselves.

    It is common for people who are hurting to have been relentlessly brainwashed in their most impressionable years that they are 蘇opeless or 礎ad or 祖an稚 do a thing right or are 創ot as capable as their brother or sister. These lies eventually come to be accepted as truth by the victims of these putdowns.

    Once our self-image hardens, we filter all new information to conform to our self-image. So when people say positive things about us, we disbelieve them or it hardly registers with us that the words were ever spoken, whereas we latch on to every negative comment as confirmation of our mistaken beliefs about ourselves.

    It is not uncommon to unconsciously surround ourselves with people who reinforce our poor self-image and to feel uncomfortable around more positive and/or well-respected or esteemed people. It is astounding, for example, how many daughters of alcoholics end up marrying alcoholics, despite promising themselves they would never do so. Even though we can only reform ourselves, never someone else, often these people marry alcoholics because they feel a strong compulsion to prove they can reform an alcoholic, since they see their father痴 continued alcoholism as proof that they had failed. Of course, by entering such a marriage, they are setting themselves up for more pain and more things that they will mistakenly interpret as confirmation that they are 素ailures.

    Perhaps it was because he was not the first father she had known, a friend of mine regarded her step-father痴 alcoholism as her mother痴 responsibility and so felt no pressure to marry an alcoholic. However, her father痴 actions caused her to feel unloved. This led her to marry the first man who would have her, since she presumed that no one else ever would. Her thirty-eight years of marriage were unhappy, largely because she had chosen to marry someone who was not good at communicating his love and she kept interpreting his every word and action to line up with her conviction that she was unlovable.

    I know someone whose mother has the psychological disorder of narcissism and is impossible to please. It seems more than coincidence that, until my friend grew in self-esteem, she kept ending up in jobs in which the boss was a female who was as impossible to please as her mother. In one job, her boss made enemies of everyone. In another, the boss surrounded herself with women whose spirit was broken because they came from backgrounds of abuseand kept putting them down. My friend was only vaguely aware that her motivation in her job choices was to prove herself capable of winning the approval of someone like her mother, since she had failed to do this as a child. She picked jobs with bosses so much like her mother, however, that no one could ever win their approval. So my friend kept being put down, with the result that all her life experiences seemed to confirm her false self-image.

    The ways we can perpetuate a false self-image are almost endless, and men are just as susceptible as women. For example, I always assumed I was too undesirable for any woman to ever date me and I was never proved wrong because I was so sure that every woman would reject me that I never dared ask anyone for a date.

    For someone with low self-esteem, blaming oneself can feel so right that the person might not even bother to rationally examine the matter.

    Rebuilding one痴 self-image can be as challenging as rebuilding a bombed house, and to break the habit of continually thinking negatively about ourselves can be as difficult as it is for a heavy smoker to quit smoking.

    What if it Really is Your Fault?

    Even if you truly have acted despicably and are highly blameworthy, you will still need to get past this and move on. Tormenting yourself helps no one. We will now briefly address those who needlessly blame themselves but further on in this webpage you will discover that your hope is boundless, regardless of how disgusting the offense and how much it is your fault. If you really are guilty of appalling atrocities, recovering from your past offenses in a morally and psychologically effective way is as important and as possible for you, as it is for the most blameless of people.

    Let痴 for the moment, however, look at some common reasons for people being mistakenly convinced that something is their fault.

      * Hindsight is Unrealistic

      An obvious factor in self-blame is that hindsight empowers us to see with far greater clarity than was possible at the time. What is obvious afterward, is seldom so obvious before events unfold. What at the time seemed a remote possibility looks certain after it happens. It is common when grieving the loss of a loved one, for example, to blame ourselves for things that were at the time largely beyond our control and/or ability to predict.

      What is obvious later is seldom obvious before events unfold. In real life, a person is often caught off guard and when things escalate he or she is paralyzed by shock.

      If you had suffered previous traumas that had certain similarities to a later predicament, instead of those experiences making you wiser, they could actually deaden your ability to avoid the situation, due to the crippling psychological force known as learned helplessness. Having once been subjected to a situation in which resistance was useless or achieved nothing (a child being overpowered or outwitted by an adult, for example) programs us to expect that in a similar situation, resistance will again be useless.

      * An Attempt to Feel in Control

      If the real offender were not you but someone emotionally important to you or someone you are dependent upon a lover or family member, for example the thought of concluding that that person is wrong or depraved can be so devastating that you find it easier to blame yourself than blame the offender. Wives who are economically and/or emotionally dependent upon an abusive husband, might rather believe it is their fault than try to cope with feeling trapped. To give another example, children desperately need the security of knowing that their parents are good, trustworthy people who will protect, comfort and nurture them. This need can be so intense that they will choose to believe they were at fault rather than face the terrifying reality that they are exposed to continual danger that is utterly beyond their control.

      * The High Status of the Offender

      If an abuser is someone highly respected, such as a community leader, the pressure can be immense to doubt one痴 own judgment, rather than doubt the abuser痴 integrity. If the person is esteemed as a spiritual authority, it might seem so unthinkable that he could be wrong that his opinions are regarded as being more trustworthy than one痴 own conscience or biblical interpretation. Spiritual abuse then becomes a distinct possibility.

      * If Your Distress Originated During Childhood . . .

      If you were a child when the offense occurred, additional forces come into play, although they still influence us even as adults. Children have a powerful inbuilt drive to respect and believe adults or much older children. Their rapid development often their very survival hinges on it. In what only adults can recognize as a life-or-death situation, it is essential for children to obey immediately. Little children can learn and mature at the required rate only by unquestioning acceptance of what adults teach them. So when adults (or older children) do wrong, children not only lack the maturity and intellectual ability to realize it is wrong, they have a strong, natural urge to trust and obey.

      Adults can cruelly manipulate the emotions of their victims until tender consciences are shattered by an overwhelming burden of false guilt. If an abuser insists upon secrecy, it not only inflames the conviction that something shamefully wrong is occurring, it forces victims to keep their emotions dangerously bottled up.

      * Scrupulosity

      Few, if any, of us have a perfect conscience. Not even St Paul was sure about his conscience (1 Corinthians 4:4). Some mental conditions and/or spiritual attacks, however, render a person痴 conscience extremely unreliable, causing them to feel excessively condemned over minor lapses, or things they have no control over.

      For instance, some forms of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder give people uncontrollable bad thoughts. Not realizing that the thoughts are beyond human control, they end up blaming themselves for not being able to control the uncontrollable. Another example is a mental illness that causes people to worry that they have done something horrible that they never did.

    Regardless of how justified our guilt feelings are, however, once self-blame starts, we soon find ourselves imprisoned by a guilt-ridden cycle of self-loathing that simply gets harder and harder to break out of as the years grind on. The most saintly person on the planet has regrets, but once we view ourselves as unforgivable, motivation to keep doing the right thing usually vanishes in a swamp of hopelessness.

    It is only natural to act out our self-image, no matter how contrary to reality that self-image is. Many of us are tempted to magnify our own guilt and underrate the guilt of 喪espectable people. The reality, however, is that except for Jesus the best of earth痴 inhabitants has at some time or another done inexcusable things. Trying to pretend we have never done the inexcusable is like trying to ignore cancer. We can稚 simply ignore reasons for blaming ourselves. We must somehow find a highly legitimate way to forgive ourselves. Keep reading, and you will find the answers you need.

* * *

A Life Transformed

The truth that will heal you is so mind-boggling that I must reveal it carefully and gradually lest you think I am out of my mind. Let me start by proving that no matter how ridiculous they initially seem, these healing principles really work. I値l do this by sharing with you Christine痴 story. Past sexual abuse featured strongly in her torment. The source of your distress might be very different, but the secret of Christine痴 transformation applies to us all.

A key factor in Christine being freed from self-hate was the realization that she was innocent. The first thing she grasped through reading my webpages was that feeling pleasure when being sexually abused is a normal bodily reaction, not a moral issue. Just as feeling pain is an unavoidable response to being severely beaten, so is feeling pleasure an unavoidable response to being forcibly, but sensually, molested. That痴 a helpful insight that almost any counselor could have provided, but then she discovered something far more powerful. Let痴 read her story:

    I expect I値l remember till my dying day exactly where I was standing when the truth exploded within me and set me free. I was on my cell phone talking to Grantley (writer of this webpage), thanking him for his webpages that explain that the sexual pleasure inflicted on me by my childhood abuser was not my fault. I was thrilled to finally realize that my sexual feelings were an involuntary reaction to the abuse and in no way suggest immorality on my part.

    I could sense that Grantley was hesitant; wanting to agree with me, but sounding as if I had missed something vital. 展hat if you hadn稚 been so innocent? he asked. 展ould you then be doomed to live with crippling guilt for the rest of your life?

    Grantley had studied to be a psychologist but after graduating with honors he abandoned the field because he had found a way of healing that has far more power than psychology offers. He began to remind me of an ancient spiritual truth that has transformed the lives of countless millions. Suddenly I realized the ultimate in liberating truths: I don稚 have to try to justify myself because God has justified me! The Judge of all humanity sees me as not merely no worse than average people; he sees me as spotlessly pure and perfect, just like his holy Son. This might at first seem uncomfortably religious but hold on while I explain how it transformed my life.

    On the cross, the Innocent One swapped places with me; suffering my humiliation so that I could gain his endless honor and, to use the astounding expression the Bible uses, he has made me 鍍he righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21). I had been aware of the truth before but now it hit me like a divine revelation.

    Suddenly Christ痴 sacrifice became the most beautiful act ever made. I am fully accepted by the Judge of all humanity, the greatest intellect and highest moral authority in the universe, and since it was all finalized and sealed two thousand years ago, there is nothing I can do to mess it up. All I need do is cling to Jesus and bask in the wonder of what he has done for me and enjoy all the benefits.

    I am not just as good as most people but, in heaven痴 eyes, I知 as pure and holy as God, because of Jesus and I知 sharing this because it can be just as powerfully your experience as mine. It痴 so mind-blowing that I致e had to keep repeating the Scripture over and over to myself:

      2 Corinthians 5:21 For him [Jesus] who knew no sin he made to be sin on our behalf; so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

    Until making this discovery, whenever anyone criticized me I would go into a tailspin; not only inwardly agreeing with the putdown but telling myself that I知 incurably wicked and deserve to be treated as dirt and ruthlessly punished. Quickly, the oppressive feeling would balloon until it was so overwhelming that I felt compelled to hurt myself. After that, I壇 feel so miserable that I壇 fall into a vain attempt to comfort myself.

    Now, everything has changed!

* * *

Is Christine Out of Her Mind?

I interrupt Christine to admit that what she has been saying initially seems not merely ridiculous but downright impossible.

To help you grasp a difficult concept would you mind letting your imagination run wild for a few moments before returning to cold reality? Suppose you had amnesia. After forgetting all of your past, snippets of memories are slowly returning. Eventually some of the jigsaw pieces slot together and to your horror you realize that in your past you had committed a hideous crime. For weeks you are petrified day and night that someone will find out and you値l be jailed for life. Finally, you can bear the mental torment no longer. You turn yourself in to the police and confess. They confirm that you have correctly remembered part of your past. They inform you, however, that there are still parts you have forgotten.

Years ago, you had been arrested and tried for that crime. You were given a surprisingly light sentence and you have already served the time.

Imagine how relieved you would feel!

Now let痴 plunge back into icy reality. What has happened to you is similar, but even more amazing. You are horrified by snippets of your past that you recall. It is nightmare material. You have been hating yourself because you suppose you should continue to suffer, but what has been wiped from your consciousness is that there is a mysterious but very real sense in which you have already suffered for the past far, far more than you realize so immensely, in fact, that every bit of punishment you deserve has been paid in full and you are now completely free.

Now here comes the part that seems utterly ridiculous: you have already paid the full penalty because Jesus was tortured to death for your past, totally absorbing within himself all your shame, pain and blame until not a shred remained.

添ou池e mad! you object, 撤erhaps it somehow transformed Christine but no matter how kind Jesus might have been, and no matter what he did, he痴 not me. What he did is largely irrelevant.

I have to admit that you are right if Jesus were an ordinary person.

What he achieved makes no sense until we realize that Jesus is not just a spectacularly special man, nor even the world痴 greatest ever miracle worker; he is divine. With him, nothing is impossible. He is supernatural and he longs to give you the most profound supernatural experience imaginable a supernatural union in which you and he merge with each other, melding into one so that, as the Bible declares, he is in you and you are in him.

Since Jesus is no abuser, he seeks your full consent before proceeding, but he is so devoted to your lifelong well-being and eternal happiness that he wants to bond with you so that you and he are inseparable. When this happens, both of you have the same spiritual bank account, the same status, the same spiritual genes, the same past (that痴 why he suffered) and the same future (that痴 why your future is unbelievably bright). For Scriptures about the amazing oneness with Christ that he wants you to enjoy, see One With Christ.

Even though we Christians tend to understate it, this staggering miracle makes you a totally new being, complete with supernatural powers and immortality.

Marriage makes a man and woman one flesh, with pooled assets and a shared destiny. Eventually their very genes permanently unite to form offspring. As this marvel commences with a few spoken words in a marriage ceremony, so a few words in a heart-felt prayer can usher in the spiritual transformation in which you and the spotlessly pure, eternal Son of God become one, with the same past and the same future. (For more about how you can experience this, see You Can Find Love.)

Many of us feel that our stupidity or wickedness is so gross that it needs to be punished in some way perhaps, for example, by continuing to feel shame or be miserable or think lowly of ourselves. But every trace of what we feel we should punish ourselves for has already been fully punished with inhuman severity when Jesus took upon himself all our imbecile goof-ups and depravity and was tortured to death for them. All the punishment was exhausted on him. There is nothing left.

When you are in spiritual union with the holy Son of God, you both have the same past. What happened to Jesus happened to you, and what happened to you happened to Jesus.

Do you think you should beat yourself up? He was literally beaten up. His skin was flayed to shreds. Think you should suffer? His agony was indescribable. Think you should die? It痴 impossible to be deader than his corpse. And because it happened to him, it has already happened to you. When you and he are one, for you to get angry with yourself or fill with shame or despise yourself, is utterly needless. The person who did things worthy of such distress is not only dead and buried, he died almost two thousand years ago.

Let me plunder a piece of fiction I wrote years ago:

    In my mind痴 eye I saw myself charging into a burning building to rescue someone I loved more than life itself. Every movement began to slow down. Shielding her body, I suffer horrific burns to carry her to safety, where I collapse, writhing in agony. But it is worth every throb of pain because the love of my life is completely untouched by the fire. All that matters is that she痴 unharmed. Seeing my wounds she says, 的 don稚 deserve such love! I look on in horror as, overwhelmed by a feeling of unworthiness, she then runs back into the fire and kills herself; breaking my heart by her death and rendering all my suffering an utter waste.

    I had been on the brink of treating my heroic Savior like that. How dare I let Jesus agony be wasted! If I beat myself, Jesus was beaten for nothing. If I get angry with myself, Jesus bore God痴 wrath for nothing. If I let shame overwhelm me, Jesus was humiliated for nothing. If I think of myself as morally defiled, the Innocent One was treated as a criminal for nothing. If I think I知 inferior, the King of kings was treated as dirt for nothing. The Lord of all suffered horrifically to give me the right of access to all God痴 riches. For his sake, I must refuse to throw aside such a costly sacrifice. For some reason sheer love I guess he considered me worth it. I won稚 let him down. No matter what false feelings flood over me, I値l refuse to believe them. I値l enjoy life for his sake. 擢OR HIS SAKE! I yelled. At last I found peace. 添es, for Jesus sake! I shouted in joyous relief, 擢or the sake of the One who died for me!

    By thinking of myself as unworthy, I was seeing myself as I truly would be had Jesus never hung upon the cross for me. But he was crucified. He was tortured to death to swap my sin for his sinlessness. He took my guilt and gave me his innocence. And here I was on the brink of pushing it aside and, by caving into feelings of inferiority, reducing to a senseless waste his agonizing death for me.

Some children are scolded under the guise of the putdown helping to make them good. Some carry that thought into adulthood. But for us to be putdown or ridiculed doesn稚 make us good. What makes us good is our innocent Lord being so fully subjected to God痴 righteous anger on our account that there is no condemnation left. And in exchange for him taking our humiliation, idiotic mistakes and evil upon himself, he gives us his moral perfection and dignity.

Christ痴 nature and achievements are so much ours that Scripture states such things as:

    John 17:22 The glory which you have given me . . .

    1 Corinthians 1:30  . . . you are in Christ Jesus, who was made to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption

    1 Corinthians 2:16  . . . we have Christ痴 mind.

    2 Peter 1:4  . . . he has granted to us his precious and exceedingly great promises; that through these you may become partakers of the divine nature . . .

He became human so that divinity could flow through you. The Eternal died so that you could be more alive than ever before; took on your mortality to give you immortality. He wore your limitations so you could enjoy his infinity. The Almighty crumbled with your weakness to give you supernatural strength. The Pride of the universe agonized with your loneliness so that you would never be alone again; suffered your isolation so that you and he could be inseparable. The King of kings bore your shame and darkness so that you could be radiant with his honor; was humiliated with your depravity to infuse you with his holy majesty; lowered himself to the dust of death so that you could be enthroned with him in highest heaven. God痴 noble Son shamed himself with your foolishness to give you his intellect; exchanging your dirty, cloudy thinking for his crystal purity; suffering for your idiotic blunders so that you could be dignified as a superior being, graced with divine wisdom. He let your sorrow crush him to let you beam with his joy; was impoverished by your debts so that you could revel in his riches. He absorbed within himself all your inadequacies so that you could overflow with his abundance.

Through your union with the holy King of kings, every trace of filth has been flushed out by a torrent of divine purity; all your guilt replaced by pristine innocence; all your shame by royal dignity; all your ugliness transformed into dazzling beauty. You are exalted to the very heavens as someone worthy of eternal honor. Who could think lowly of such a person?

What makes it hardest for us to believe that we can enjoy this holy union that frees us from the pain, blame and shame of our past is that we know we don稚 deserve it. 展hy would God suffer such agony to lavish his goodness upon me? we ask in utter bewilderment. The answer is that it is God痴 very nature to do such things. He is a giver, not a taker. There is more that is mind boggling about him than the incomprehensible immensity of his physical power and intellect. God doesn稚 just love us sometimes, he is love overwhelmingly powerful, pure, selfless love that refuses to give up or count the cost.

I am reluctant to use the 鏑 word when talking about God. Too few people understand that genuine love has nothing to do with lust. Even those not using the word to con and exploit and hurt people, tend to use it as an excuse to seek their own happiness and pamper their egos. With so many people misusing the word, the true meaning drains away and it mutates into something hideous.

True love is so exquisitely beautiful and rare that you might not have witnessed even a shadow of it in humanity. Divine love is selfless giving taken to extreme levels. It is pure, nonsexual, humble, self-sacrificing and wants nothing but the other person痴 greatest good. This rare beauty overwhelms God痴 heart and flows freely to us all. He gives and gives and gives, not because of anything in us, but because of his goodness. He is so filled, driven and intoxicated by unlimited kindness, generosity, gentleness and purity that it is impossible for him to stop wanting to give you the best in his uniquely glorious, selfless, holy way.

This is hard for us to believe because it is so contrary to our experience with humans. But God is utterly different to frail humanity. He knows no human inadequacies, selfishness or lust. He is kind, warm and gentle, yet all-powerful and flawless. His motives are pure.

Now let痴 return to Christine:

    Grantley taught me how to gain maximum benefit from my new understanding of how loved and accepted I am by God. I can now stop myself from spiraling out of control. I can pull myself out of a nose dive the instant it begins.

    Here痴 how it works: the moment I sense myself beginning to feel negative about myself I inwardly shout, 哲o, that痴 not true! and begin thanking God that because of Jesus, God accepts me and believes in me. The Perfect One thinks I知 important, declares me to be good and pure and righteous, and has wonderful plans for my life. On and on I go, reminding myself of how loved by God I am; thanking and praising Jesus for being punished and despised so that I need never despise myself.

    As I continue, savoring the implications of the cleansing that is mine through Christ, and of me being royalty a child of the King of kings I force myself to rejoice in all of God痴 goodness to me. As I keep this up, my spirit soars to the point where the urge to put myself down fades and I feel no need to seek empty comfort by degrading myself by former habits.

    Just as bad habits are hard to break, good habits are hard to build. It痴 been hard to keep remembering each time I begin to enter a downward spiral to pull myself up, tell myself, 哲o, that痴 not true! and begin thanking God for the way he sees me through rose-colored glasses through the precious blood of Jesus drained for me. And it痴 been hard dredging up a multitude of positive things about God痴 view of me to keep thanking God for, and to keep praise flowing for long enough for my depressing thoughts to fade. But as I keep persisting, it is getting easier and easier, and I知 discovering that, once established, good habits grow strong and serve us well.

    I致e also learned to, as it were, put money in the bank for a rainy day. Even when things are going well I regularly rehearse uplifting Scriptures and savor God痴 love. Then when oppressive thoughts cloud in, I have in my mind a ready store of positive material to recall that will enrich my thinking. Gradually, to think well of myself seeing myself through God痴 eyes is becoming second nature to me. As a result, self-hate is becoming a thing of the past. Moreover, life is becoming more exciting than ever before.

    Christ痴 sacrifice is my anchor. No matter how violently stormy seas bounce me around, I知 safe because the anchor of my soul is embedded in the immovable, two-thousand-year-old bedrock of the holy Son of God swapping places with me. Christ has made me acceptable and lovable. It was settled two thousand years ago and nothing can change it.

* * *

The Almost Unbelievable

Your self-esteem has been so crushed that it will take you enormous effort for even a small fraction of these truths to sink in, but since, as the proverb says, a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, it is important to begin by making every effort to try to absorb the following and doing your utmost to resist the temptation to imagine that you or anyone else could somehow nullify the infinity of God痴 love.

Why I Admire People Tempted to Hate Themselves

People who feel so tormented that they feel like hating themselves unquestionably deserve deep compassion. More than this, however, they fill me with admiration. Here is one reason: Almost everyone engaged in self-hate sees himself as a loser but in my eyes every such person is not just a winner but a hero. I know how right your negative view of yourself feels to you but, nevertheless, I am certain that my view is the most realistic one. To explain, I値l quote something I致e written elsewhere:

    An athlete, in the midst of a record-breaking run, has never in his life been so fit and strong. Yet his pain-racked body may have never felt so weak. Likewise, in the midst of a spiritual trial, it is not uncommon to be stronger and yet feel weaker than ever before. And to fellow Christians you might seem hopeless. An ultra-marathon champion staggering up the final hill looks pathetic. A child could do better. Anyone not understanding what this man has gone through would shrink from him in disgust. Only someone with all the facts would be awed by his stamina as he stumbles on.

    Consider Scott and his team, who struggled to the South Pole only to discover their honor of being the first to reach the Pole was lost forever. Amundsen had beaten them by about a month. To add to the futility, they endured further blizzards, illness, frostbite and starvation only to perish; the last three dying just a few miles from safety. Yet today their miserable defeat ending with death in frozen isolation, witnessed by not a living soul, is hailed as one of the greatest ever epics of human exploration and endurance.

    Every fiber of my being is convinced that their glory is just a shadow of what you can achieve. Though you suffer in isolation and apparent futility, with the depths of your trial known to no one on earth, your name could be blazed in heaven痴 lights, honored forever by heaven痴 throngs for your epic struggle with illness, bereavement, or whatever. The day is coming when what is endured in secret will be shouted from the housetops. Look at Job: bewildered, maligned, misunderstood; battling not some epic foe but essentially common things - a financial reversal, bereavement, illness; - not cheered on by screaming fans, just booed by some one-time friends. If even on this crazy planet Job is honored today, I can稚 imagine the acclaim awaiting you when all is revealed. Your battle with life痴 miseries can be as daring as David痴 encounter with Goliath. Don稚 worry that others don稚 understand this at present. One day they will. And that day will never end.

Anyone feeling drawn to self-hate is suffering immense inner agony and yet instead of going the cowardly way of suicide he staggers on. That is heroic.

Here痴 yet another reason for people who hate themselves capturing my admiration:

If you analyze it you will discover that what drives most people to self-hate is distress over their continual failure to reach the standards they believe they should achieve. They are so hard on themselves, however, that they forget that a lesser person would reduce his inner pain by lowering his standards something self-haters won稚 let themselves do. They continue to maintain their ideals even though it brings them deep torment. How admirable is that! Sadly, self-loathing could have so wounded you that not only this, but much of the following, will initially stagger belief or bounce off as if it did not apply to you.

Imagine someone languishing in poverty despite receiving a check for ten million dollars. With the gift seeming too good to be true, he presumed it must be a hoax and never bothered to cash the check. I beg you not to be like that person. Please don稚 miss out simply because what the good Lord has done seems too good to be true.

Even though God痴 standards are terrifyingly higher than ours, anyone thinking himself not good enough is seeing things through human eyes, not divine eyes. Jesus, the eternal Son of God, reaches the Holy Lord痴 humanly unattainable standards of absolute perfection. Again, this will seem unbelievable or irrelevant mumbo jumbo without serious grappling with truth and seeking divine revelation.

You Are a Sophisticated Being

I claw at words trying to describe you. Words like noble, regal, intelligent, important and valuable all fall short. 撤riceless and 妬rreplaceable are applicable but still fail to embrace the full magnificence of who you are. You are God-like and you are not some shabby imitation of God but the Almighty God of Perfection made you with God-like qualities.

    Genesis 1:27 God created man in his own image. In God痴 image he created him; male and female he created them.

This is solid proof that when the Bible speaks of 杜an or 杜en in general, it applies with equal force to females as to males. It is so important to God that we grasp this gender issue that he lays it out in the very beginning of the Bible. Moreover, Scripture also implies that God痴 nature is most fully reflected not by males alone but by a combination of what is distinctively masculine and what is distinctively feminine. For more, see Gender in the Bible.

So, under the inspiration of God himself, Genesis 1:27, is declaring that, without exception, every human is in the image of the divine. Tragically, many children have been so grossly mistreated that they grow up to feel less than human. The devastating feeling of being less than human can be so strong that that degrading feeling can seem to be the truth. No matter how loudly they scream, however, mere feelings cannot change what God pronounces to be true. The truth is that you are fully human, which means you reflect the very nature of God so much so that Jesus said, 的sn稚 it written in your law, 選 said, you are gods? (John 10:34). Jesus was referring to this Scripture:

    Psalms 82:6-7 I said, 添ou are gods, all of you are sons of the Most High. Nevertheless you shall die like men, and fall like one of the rulers.

In this Word from God, our mortality a consequence of our fallen nature is brutally recognized and yet still the Godlike aspects of our nature remain undeniable.

Finally, here are two more Scriptures affirming how exalted all humans are:

    Psalm 139:14 I will give thanks to you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful. My soul knows that very well.

    Psalm 8:3-6 When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have ordained; what is man, that you think of him? What is the son of man, that you care for him? For you have made him a little lower than God, and crowned him with glory and honor. You make him ruler over the works of your hands. You have put all things under his feet

You Are Not Alone

Let痴 briefly explore several aspects to the comforting, liberating truth that no matter how alone you feel, you are not alone.

There is something devastatingly lonely and isolating about pain. No one but God could slip inside your head and feel your pain. And how you feel just cannot be put into words. Yet we yearn to break the torment of solitary confinement and be understood. We yearn to express the inexpressible.

A friend who has despised herself for what she has suffered is discovering something amazing flowing from the unique way that her suffering connects her with other hurting people: it empowers her to bring them hope and comfort like no one who has had an easier life can possibly achieve. Her suffering broke God痴 heart and was the tragic consequence of living in a world that refuses to imitate God but acts in rebellion against his kind, gentle, loving ways. Nevertheless, that suffering has lifted her to a place of special honor in God痴 eyes because it puts her in a unique position to help other suffering people all of whom are so dear to his heart. To her astonishment, she has discovered that her past anguish, rather than being the useless waste it had once seemed, has immense meaning and value.

You Are Totally Known and Understood

Earlier we stated the obvious: No one but God could slip inside your head and feel your pain. But guess what! That is exactly what God does!

鏑augh, and the world laughs with you, cry, and you cry alone, can only be true if you leave God out of the equation. And the stupendous news is that we don稚 have to leave God out.

You are of such astounding importance and value to the Lord of the universe that every minute aspect of your life captivates his attention. He knew you and yearned for your companionship long before you had ever heard of him before you even gained consciousness, in fact. He cares for you so much that ever since the moment of your conception, God has been with you, observing the multiplication of your every cell as you slowly formed within the womb.

Invest time trying to contemplate the overwhelming vastness of the number of grains of sand in a single bucket. Then multiply that by the total amount of sand on every beach on the entire planet and add the grains of sand in every desert. That incomprehensible number is equivalent to the number of thoughts God has had about you. Whether you are asleep or awake, no detail of your life, no matter how hidden and secret or insignificant or embarrassing, past or future will ever escape his intimate awareness. He has known your every thought and he knew every word you would speak before you even uttered it. And this mind-bogglingly intense level of concern for you will keep hurtling on like an unstoppable freight train fueled by limitless love for all eternity.

Add infinite intelligence to this unlimited knowledge and you are totally understood not just more than any other human can possibly understand you but exceedingly more than you could even hope to understand yourself.

In the most intensely intimate, infinitely detailed sense of the word, God knows what you are going through.

Keep reading and you will see that your pain matters so astoundingly so that, rather than luxuriate in ease, the most important Person in the entire cosmos would willingly suffer every trace of your pain for you. The stupendous Lord of the Galaxies, the Source of all beauty, feels for you so immensely that it would actually relieve his distress for him to fully bear your torment himself.

You are not alone: even though you are rarely even conscious of it, from the moment of your conception and for the rest of eternity you have the ultimate companion who is infinitely concerned about the tiniest aspects of your life.

For biblical confirmation of this, see Psalm 139.

God Has Taken Your Pain Upon Himself

God is highly personal. He is no machine storing incomprehensibly vast quantities of information. God is love. Infinite love not only cares enough to want to know everything about you; love feels. Your pain and distress sends him reeling in pain. Even imperfect humans can love with such intensity that they would rather suffer themselves than see their loved one suffer. And this is what God has done. Study this:

    Isaiah 53:4-12 Surely he has borne our sickness, and carried our suffering . . . But he was pierced for our transgressions. He was crushed for our iniquities. The punishment that brought our peace was on him; and by his wounds we are healed. . . . the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. . . . and stricken for the disobedience of my people . . . you make his soul an offering for sin . . . he will bear their iniquities. . . . yet he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

It is almost as if the magnitude of the agony God feels in identifying with your distress drove him to self-harm except that it was so much more than just an emotional reaction; it was the meticulously planned solution for your needs. By identifying with you so utterly that he was tortured to death on your behalf, the eternal Son of God opened the way for your healing and other wonders of immense significance in your life. Now all that it takes is for you to accept it. Just as marriage requires not just love and commitment from one partner, but the other must also agree to the union, so it is with you and God. No matter how much love yearns to help, love refuses to force itself upon another. At whatever personal cost it takes, love restrains itself until the loved one is willing to receive.

You Are Valued Beyond Measure

To explain, let me quote from something I致e written elsewhere:

A diamond is just a bit of rock. It can稚 love, talk, think. Its worth is based not on what it can do but on what people are willing to pay for it. Diamonds are considered of great value simply because people will pay much to have one. You are far more precious to God than tons of diamonds and he paid a far higher price than all the wealth of a million earths to have you as his best friend. You have an irreplaceable place in God痴 own heart. He loves you dearly and tenderly and devotedly. He paid the highest possible price the willing sacrificial death of his holy Son to have you as his best friend.

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Is God Impressed When I Beat Myself Up?

It was the showdown: Elijah versus 850 prophets of Baal and Asherah (1 Kings 18:19). Whose God was more powerful? The Baal devotees prayed. No response. They prayed some more and more and more. Still no response. Things were getting desperate. They used their ultimate weapon in getting their god to respond:

    1 Kings 18:28-29 They cried aloud, and cut themselves in their way with knives and lances, until the blood gushed out on them. When midday was past, they prophesied until the time of the evening offering; but there was no voice, no answer, and nobody paid attention.

We can be strongly tempted to act like them; thinking that God or loved ones might take pity on us if we treat ourselves harshly enough or make ourselves sufficiently miserable. But God痴 heart is already breaking over your distress. The last thing the loving, tender Lord wants is for you to further increase your suffering.

In the Bible, those who treated themselves harshly were pagans who did not understand the heart of God. The emphatic teaching of Jesus is that faith is the key to answered prayer and to moving the hand of God. That makes praising God explosively powerful because praise is faith so purified and concentrated as to reduce problems to dust.

Praising and thanking God are not reserved for when things go well. They form a lethal spiritual weapon against everything that seeks to distress, depress or destroy us.

    Ephesians 5:20 giving thanks always concerning all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ . . .

    Philippians 4:6 In nothing be anxious, but in everything, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.

    Colossians 3:17 Whatever you do, in word or in deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father, through him.

    1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus toward you.

    Hebrews 13:15 Through him, then, let us offer up a sacrifice of praise to God continually . . . (Emphasis mine)

This is what Christine was working on. Her automatic, unthinking response to distress had been to despise herself and treat herself badly. Now she is establishing a new way of responding. This new habit, instead of acting like a drug that brings temporary relief but actually worsens the situation, is healing her inner pain, and dissipating her distress. Instead of begging God to intervene, she puts running shoes on her faith by thanking and praising God for loving and purifying and beautifying and exalting her.

When feeling down, thanking and praising God is as hard as dragging yourself out of a cozy bed on an icy morning, but despite the effort it takes, you soon discover that praising God transports you from frigid depression to the cheery warmth of victory over defeatism.

Louise, who often suffers deep depression, wrote a beautiful poem about a shoot pushing through a seed until finally emerging into the sunshine, only to be hit by the stench of fertilizer. That fertilizer, however, causes it to grow. Gradually the stench disappears and the plant blooms, producing a beautiful fragrance. 釘eauty comes at a price, says her poem, which I suggest you read.

In a personal e-mail to me, Louise made a comment about the poem that I知 reluctant to share because of the language but it will be very meaningful to many readers:

    I keep saying, I am a piece of ----, but I am not. I am, however, covered with it from time to time in order to grow, to push up through it and be strengthened by it.

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Practical Help

Anyone wrestling with self-hate is in a uniquely stressful dilemma. In any act of hate and/or verbal putdowns, to be the victim is traumatic. It is even traumatic to be the attacker, since the attacker must act contrary to good conscience. But in self-hate, you are both the victim and the offender. How traumatic is that!

How can you flee from your enemy when you are your own enemy? How can you get any joy out of the defeat of your enemy when you are that enemy?

Forgiving oneself is a critical ingredient of feeling good about oneself and ending self-hate. Over the years, very many hurting people have shared their secrets with me. Their experiences have rammed home to me that forgiving oneself, feeling forgiven by God, and forgiving other people, travel together. They might separate a little, but progress with one type of forgiveness moves the others forward; holding back with one, holds back the others.

So here痴 a practical tip of great importance in ending self-hate: when, despite your best efforts, you seem to have reached a stalemate with one type of forgiveness, try working on one or both of the other types. Each type of forgiveness can be exceedingly stubborn but as you keep working on all three, while looking to God for supernatural help, one of the three will eventually move a little and this will make progress on the others a little easier.

Since they are travel mates, each type of forgiveness is critical to feeling good about yourself and hence reducing the pressure to despise yourself. We dare not neglect any of the three types of forgiveness, so let痴 list them one final time:

    * feeling/believing you are forgiven by God

    * forgiving yourself

    * forgiving other people

* * *

Becoming Whole

We can kid ourselves that burying or hiding past difficulties proves us to be the 都trong silent type but the truth is very different. It prevents us from emotionally connecting and coming to terms with what is really troubling us. It can keep us perpetually distressed; one possible manifestation of which can be self-hate. Acting this way can not only cause enormous problems, it is inconsistent with the Healing Lord痴 ways. The God of truth says such things as:

    Proverbs 28:13 He who conceals his sins doesn稚 prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy.

    James 5:16 Confess your offenses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. . . .

    1 Chronicles 28:9  . . . for the Lord searches all hearts, and understands all the imaginations of the thoughts. . . .

    Psalms 44:21  . . . he knows the secrets of the heart.

    1 Corinthians 4:5  . . . the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and reveal the counsels of the hearts.

    Hebrews 4:13 There is no creature that is hidden from his sight, but all things are naked and laid open before the eyes of him to whom we must give an account.

This is not scary because, as stated in Proverbs 28 (quoted above), even when sin is involved, it is only the person who conceals it who has cause for alarm. Like air into a vacuum, divine mercy and forgiveness rush in to fill whoever admits to sin and genuinely wants to be free from it.

The beautiful thing is that we never have to revisit the dark places alone. We can take with us a warm Friend who dispels darkness. He is the Light of the world. We don稚 have to fear our emotions because we have a God who deeply understands and empathizes. Jesus himself prayed 努ith strong crying and tears (Hebrews 5:7). Elsewhere it says about Jesus:

    Hebrews 4:15-18 For we don稚 have a high priest who can稚 be touched with the feeling of our infirmities, but one who has been in all points tempted like we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore draw near with boldness to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy, and may find grace for help in time of need.

We don稚 have to fear our emotions getting out of control, because he will carefully monitor them. He will not allow us to suffer what we cannot bear (1 Corinthians 10:13). And if we have anger, bitterness or hate, he does not condemn but freely forgives and cleanses, and empowers us to resolve destructive attitudes so that we can heal.

* * *


I have a down-to-earth prayer that could change your life. I知 not asking you to pray it. Simply read it. If you find it expresses your heart, you could then turn it into a prayer by reading it to God.

    Dear God,

    Could it really be that you are gentle and loving toward me? It seems too good to be true. I致e loathed myself more times than I can count and I致e assumed you felt like I do about myself. Could it really be that you see me so differently and are eager to warmly embrace me with your forgiveness and approving smile?

    You are an infinite God, so I concede that you have infinite love. That has to mean that your love far exceeds my own. But you are terrifyingly holy. How could you be less judgmental toward my failings than I am? Could Jesus dying for my sins have made that much difference? Could it really be that at last the pressure is off and I can bask in the sunshine of Almighty God knowing all about me and yet fully accepting me as his precious child? Could I be like Saint Paul, who saw himself as the worst of sinners and yet be special to God? Like that man of God, could I say,  . . . but what I hate, that I do. . . . that in me, that is, in my flesh, dwells no good thing. . . . the evil which I don稚 desire, that I practice. . . . What a wretched man I am! . . . and then immediately follow that pathetic lamentation with, 的 thank God through Jesus Christ, our Lord! . . . There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 7:15,18,19,24,25; 8:1)?

    I need more than fire insurance against hell. To live with myself I need somehow to be able to see myself as being of immense value and morally good. Is this possible for me?

    You have given your word that if I confess my sins, you will cleanse me from all unrighteousness, and in that same promise you vow you will do this not because I reach some arbitrary standard (we致e all fallen short, anyhow Romans 3:23) but simply because you are faithful and just (1 John 1:9).

    It would be so wonderful to be cleansed. According to the Scripture just mentioned, you and I, Lord, both have a role to play in bringing this about. You have to be faithful and just; I have to confess my failings. I don稚 have to ask you to do your part. Since you are perfect and good, you値l never be anything but faithful and just. So I値l do my part and confess to all the things that make me feel so awful what I致e done and even what has been done to me that devastates me. I壇 prefer to bury the past and live in denial, but the truth is that the past still eats at me, no matter how much I try to suppress it. My sins and the acts of those who have sinned against me seem too disgusting for you to want to hear about them, and yet you are so interested in everything that hurts me that you ask me to confess them to tell you about them. I don稚 find this easy, but I致e already prolonged my torment for far too long. I need to get this over and done with, so here goes . . . [I suggest you now share your heart with God, pouring out to him details of all the things that tend to make you feel guilty, ashamed or uncomfortable. You might find it helpful to write it out as a letter to God. Any moral means of expressing your heart to God touches him deeply.]

    Jesus was tortured to death to secure my forgiveness and yet here I am still torturing myself and at times wishing I were dead, as if I were unforgivable, when Jesus sealed my forgiveness two thousand years ago.

    Forgiveness certainly isn稚 my strong point.

    I remember when Saul, who later become the great apostle Paul, was still hating and scheming to hurt Christians, the risen Lord suddenly appeared and said, 的t is hard for you to kick against the goads (Acts 26:14). I知 told the picture is of an ox angrily kicking against a spike. Every time the ox kicks, he hurts only himself. Have I been like that? Am I hurting myself every time I inwardly lash out in anger or unforgiveness against you or against those who have hurt me?

    I recall the Lord痴 prayer: 擢orgive us our sins, for we ourselves also forgive everyone who is indebted to us. Could it be that my difficulty in believing that my sins have been divinely forgiven supernaturally wiped out is connected to my reluctance to forgive those who have sinned against me? I wish Jesus hadn稚 kept linking me receiving the forgiveness I crave with me forgiving others. How can I forgive anyone else when I find it so hard to forgive myself? And yet somehow these different types of forgiveness are inseparably bound, like different facets on the same diamond. I desperately need to forgive myself and to enjoy your forgiveness, so by an act of will, whether I feel like it not, I activate the remaining aspect of forgiveness. I choose to forgive all who have hurt me. I don稚 excuse what they did, nor pretend that what they did was even slightly defensible, but nevertheless, I forgive, just as I want you to forgive me.

    典he saying is faithful and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief said Saint Paul (1 Timothy 1:15). He did some atrocious things, including torturing innocent Christians in the hope of forcing them to blaspheme the One who died for their salvation and turn their back on their Savior. Even if I were a thousand times worse than I致e ever imagined, however, it cannot change the fact that Jesus died for the full forgiveness of the very worst of sinners whoever that might be. So forgiveness is mine through Jesus swapping places with me on the cross and letting himself be shamed and violated so that I could be honored.

    I gladly remove my filthy, sin-stained clothes that fill me with shame. Here they are, Lord: I hand you my guilt and condemnation, placing it upon the bleeding body of my Savior and trade my shame for your forgiveness and the divine purity and honor that it brings. In exchange for my dirty rags, I put on Jesus robe of righteousness. Your forgiveness clothes me from head to toe. I accept you as Lord, and now, through the supernatural transformation you promise, I am born of you. As your Word boldly declares, I am your righteousness because of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:21). Now we belong to each other. We are one. No matter how atrocious my failings and how much they haunt me, the truth is that in God痴 eyes all of us have messed up so badly that Jesus had to suffer a torturous death for us all. The degree of sin isn稚 the issue. Without Christ, we are all in the same hopeless predicament, doomed to hell, but no matter how alone and hopeless I often feel, the truth is that I am not without Christ. As Jesus took upon himself my gross inadequacies and shame, I take upon myself his sinlessness and glory. Your righteousness is now my righteousness and your honor is my honor. From now on I will live for you and honor you just as you devote yourself to me and shower me with your honor.

    I don稚 need to despise myself for anything because on the cross Jesus has already been despised for it. That痴 so mind-boggling that I need to repeat it: the Person who will judge all humanity volunteered to be shamed so that I would have no need to be shamed neither punished by God nor by me. Help me grasp the full implications so that this becomes not mere doctrine but life-changing reality.

    You pronounce me to be a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:21) an excitingly new divine masterpiece, a work of art crafted by the Master himself. No matter what I see in the mirror, you, the Almighty Lord, declare me to be a totally new person, sparkling with the glory of God; nothing like what I used to be or how I used to see myself.

    I admit that I don稚 feel like a new creature in fact, I feel as bad as ever but you don稚 lie. I look at myself and see nothing new. I still don稚 like what I see. But you say that those whom you declare to be good your royal children walk by faith not sight. So I need to believe you, and so believe I am different, no matter what I feel.

    I am one with Jesus, the holy Son of God, so all the pressure to be good enough, all the humiliation of my past, and all the fear of divine rejection is over.

    I want to honor you by breaking out of my former pattern of thinking. Like breaking any habit, it will be hard work but I will do my utmost to act like Christine, so that every time I catch myself beginning to think poorly of myself I will say, 哲o, that痴 not true! and start thanking you for who I am in your loving eyes. Thank you that although you require my full cooperation, me thinking this way is important to you because you are selflessly devoted to wanting the best for me.

* * *

The above can initiate a powerful transformation within you, but it is like a spark that will blaze into a huge fire, or be quickly extinguished, depending on whether it is protected and fed. In order to ensure that it changes your life, you need to explore all the links below. Each webpage leads to many others, but if you are battling self-hate they are most important for your welfare.

I suggest you bookmark or record the web address of this page so that you don稚 lose this list, and before even commencing the list, read Serious, Do-It Yourself Healing From Emotional Pain. It is crammed with helpful insights into our strong tendency when things go badly wrong to want to blame ourselves, God or others. It explains why this is so destructive and how Jesus death formed the perfect and totally satisfying cure.

Keys to Feeling Good About Yourself
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Personalized support

Grantley Morris:

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Not to be sold. © Copyright 2006, 2008 Grantley Morris. May be freely copied in whole or in part provided: it is not altered; this entire paragraph is included; readers are not charged and it is not used in a webpage. Many more compassionate, inspiring, sometimes hilarious writings available free online at  Freely you have received, freely give. For use outside these limits, consult the author.

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