And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig-leaves together, and made themselves aprons and they heard the voice of Jehovah God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of Jehovah God amongst the trees of the garden. Genesis 3:7-8
Self-hatred is one of the most difficult things to conquer as a Christian. When I mess up badly, I not only hate what I did but I hate myself. “I can’t believe I did that! What a jerk!” You’ve said that to yourself, right? Can you imagine the self-talk in the Garden of Eden after the forbidden fruit was eaten? Self-hatred and self-condemnation must have ruled their hearts.
Shame says, “There’s not only something wrong with what I do, there’s something wrong with me! I’m deeply flawed.” This has NO fix that is holy outside of the healing love of Christ. He is the only One who says, “I hate what you did but I love you!”
What is Satan’s counterfeit? “Love yourself. You’re not that bad. You may mess up once in a while but you’re a god!” None of that is true.
I am a desperately wicked sinner but one that is infinitely loved by Christ. When I sin, I can want – with everything in me – to punish myself but Jesus reminds me that He already bore my punishment. He died for the awful thing I just did as if He were the person who committed it.
One of the meanings of ‘forgive’ is to send away. When God forgives my sin, he sends it away from me. He puts it behind His back and never takes it out again to hold it up to my face as a reminder of how bad I am. He would want me to know today that I am not my sin.
As John Newton put it in 1725, “I am a great sinner but Christ is a great Savior.” As long as I keep the focus on Him and the love He offers me, I am not plagued by a life-long struggle to forgive myself for something I consider unforgivable.
I can forgive others much easier than I can forgive myself. Help me know how you love me in a deeper way. Amen