Overcoming Self Hatred and Self Rejection
This teaching on overcoming self-hatred and self-rejection is just one lesson of our free eCourse for personal transformation, "Matters of the Heart." All 24 lessons will be helpful to the person seeking restoration and freedom. They are also available in our Store as an ebook, a 176 page workbook and as CD and DVD sets of 24, 1/2 hour teachings.
What If We Don't Love Ourselves?
In the previous lesson (Accepted in the Beloved) we explored the emotional damage that rejection by others can cause and the effective remedy of faith in our Father’s perfect love and acceptance. Not knowing our true security in God, when others rejected us, the power of that pain may have carried us into rejecting ourselves.
Unless we truly believe in our heart of hearts that it is a great, good thing to be who we are just as we are, we have been robbed of a major part of our glorious inheritance in Christ. Did you know that Jesus actually expects us to love and accept ourselves—just as He does? Why else would He take proper love of self as a standard for loving others?
And he said to him, "’You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’” Matthew 22:37-39
These words of Jesus carry a curious fulfillment. We are to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. But what if we don’t love ourselves? Not loving ourselves will limit and set obstacles to truly loving others. It happens in this way: If I am angry with myself, it will spill out onto others as frustration with them. If I haven’t learned to receive mercy for myself, I will become judgmental of others. If I cannot entrust my life to God, I will tend to become fearful for and controlling of the ones I love. If I am critical towards myself, I will tend to be critical of others.
This cycle goes on and on because the sad truth is that even though we try to manage it, make up for it or cover it up, we can only love others as we love ourselves. So, let’s learn to give grace to ourselves by overcoming self-hatred and self-rejection in all its forms. Then we will at last be able to rightly love ourselves in Christ and become grace givers to others!
A Worthwhile Life Lesson
Worthwhile life lessons don’t come easily. For many of us the ultimate challenge of the truly converted Christian life is learning to love the sinner and hate the sin. Would you believe that to help us God has assigned a problem-prone sinner to each one of us? By “sneaky” design He has placed in all our lives someone for us to get to know intimately, someone whose weaknesses, failings and stupidities cause us no end of trouble. Yet, we are fully expected to learn how to love that sinner unconditionally, while still holding a perfect hatred for all the sins. Look no further, that sinner is you!
You "the sinner" is joined at the hip to you the New Creation—oh my God! It’s time to come to conversion about the gospel applied to ourselves. To see how much work may be needed, take this test to determine how well you give grace to yourself. Can you apply 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 (the “love chapter”) to yourself?
- Are you harder on yourself than on others? Do you berate yourself?
- Get angry with yourself easily? Depression counts as self-anger!
- Are there things about yourself that you dislike and can’t accept?
- Are there things in your past that you just can’t forgive yourself for?
- How do you talk to yourself when you have done something stupid?
If you answered yes, why would you think treating yourself this way is normal? It may be common like a cold but it is not a healthy normal.
Accept Even Things You Call "Unacceptable"
There are many things about us that God is at peace with but which we still fear and hate. In fact He seems to be in no hurry to make change come in these areas. Not being reconciled to God about these things can keep us striving against ourselves. If we want lasting victories at overcoming self-hatred and self-rejection, we will have to fight to accept ourselves as God does and for the same reasons.
Complete self-acceptance is the grace-filled starting point for entering into God’s good plans for our life. Provided that we have repented where necessary, He is always the One who completely accepts us just as we are and is willing to lead us into new life. We are the holdouts who cannot accept our lives as they are and resist living on His terms.
We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 2 Corinthians 5:20
Make sure you can accept all nine of these things about yourself without reservation. God already does! Become fully reconciled to the God who is already reconciled to you.
1) Past hurtful events: We need to see that the Father grieved over pain and injustice coming into our lives, but God is a realist. He has had to accept that all manner of pain had to be allowed because free will is allowed. So God grieves, but He is also ready, willing and able to lead anyone into a life in which evil is overturned and made to work for good. Such living begins on the other side of acceptance. At the very least accept that it happened and be willing to go on with God. Even better, vigorously thank God by faith for all you have been through.
2) Failures, wrong choices: No one wants to fail and make wrong choices, but we all do. God allows us to experience failure in order for us to learn from our mistakes things we evidently could not learn by the truths He has shown us. He will never reproach us; instead He will help us gain and grow. The only one who really fails is the one who doesn’t keep trying, the one who doesn’t persevere. Don’t live with a fear of failure: Repent, receive grace, push delete and get going again!
3) Weaknesses/foolishness: Because we receive so much affirmation from others over our strengths, we often tend to concentrate our efforts there and build a sense of self-worth around things we do well. Let your perspective shift on this one. Our strengths are God’s gifts to us; trusting Him with our weaknesses is our gift to Him. For most of us it wasn’t our strengths that brought us to Christ, but our weaknesses. Our weaknesses grow our prayer life, increase humility in us and compassion for others, and remind us to depend upon God for his help. His strength and grace are perfected in us through the very weaknesses we despise. Don’t try to be weak, but when you see your weaknesses, choose to look upon them as “tutors” and “spiritual guides” leading you closer to Christ.
4) Lack of knowledge: We often seek knowledge out of a misguided desire to cover ourselves by being right. But it is not knowledge that covers us, it is Jesus’ Blood and God’s love. It is not knowledge as information that saves us, it is knowing God in trust and intimacy. The humble truth is that we are hugely ignorant of both the world of information and the vast Infinity that is God. Let pride take the hit: Admit your boundless ignorance as a finite, fallen creature, then acknowledge that you know One who will never fault you for it, but will graciously share His wisdom with you.
5) Family heritage: It’s too late. God made the call and didn’t consult you. Take it on faith that God chose your heritage for reasons of the blessings—not the curses—that are in your generations and the divine purposes that will fulfill your life.
6) Present limitations: At times we probably have all hated our limits, whether of age, intelligence, appearance or abilities. God will likely grow us beyond many present limitations as we “wait upon Him” in faith, but in the meantime rest with peace and acceptance, trusting His unlimited abilities.
7) Personality and patterns: This is tricky because if you are reading this book you may want some of your personality and patterns changed so that the New Creation life can come forth—never buy into an aspect of yourself as being the real you if it doesn’t match up with Jesus in you, right? (Good you’re learning!) But what we don’t want is to hold our breath as we wait for those changes to come. For example, if shyness has been a personality pattern, confess it as the fear of man, then cast the burden of freeing you from it on the Lord and take your peace back. The next time shyness tries to rise up be prepared to fight to not let it stop you and eventually it will lose its grip.
8) Your fallen nature: You didn’t ask for it. It is not even your fault that you have it. It is in you because of Adam’s sin. That’s why it’s called Adam’s nature. God isn’t asking you to get rid of it—Paul never got rid of his. In fact God has no plan to remove it down here: It comes off when we die. While we live it serves a good purpose by keeping us humble and dependent upon Him, grateful that we are covered by the Blood and by the love, and less prideful towards others. What He is saying is this: “Just, don’t get dressed up in it and walk around in that old nature!”
9) Physical appearance: The truth about physical appearance is that anyone who has truly put on Christ (in love and delight) has such inner beauty shining out of them that it never fails to transform even the most ordinary countenance. A heart fully yielded to Christ is the best “make up” in the world and all it costs in this context is casting down vain concerns about how we look outwardly. God looks deep inside and loves us. Let’s learn to do it His way.
Believing the Truth about Yourself
Son or daughter of Adam, “Who told you that you were naked?” We, too, may feel exposed and vulnerable in our fallenness, but our God is covering us! Are you listening to what God’s Word says or are you listening to your feelings, your understanding, your circumstances, or your past failures? Let God alone be your source of truth and recognize every contrary thought as a lie, even if it comes from you...
It truly is a great, good thing to be You--the one God has chosen to love!
Because of my Father’s perfect love for me, His never-ending mercy for me, the future and hope He has for me, and His commitment to bring good out of everything that has ever happened or will ever happen to me, it really is a great, good thing to be me! I therefore choose to fully forgive myself and accept myself—just as He does. And I will fight to take my life back from all unloving attitudes against myself. I may have had a bad beginning, but I am going to have a great never-ending!
Next Healing Lesson
Lesson 19: Godly Contentment
Overcoming the stronghold of envy and jealousy
Interested in Going Deeper?
Don't just give these truths a "head bob"—take our free eCourse for Healing. For further study and for help working these truths into your heart and life, see Love Thyself! Part 2 (Head to Heart Guide 1). In all there are 24 Main Healing Lessons and 24 Head to Heart Guides to help you bring your heart to God and receive His Great Heart for you in return!