I’ve often heard those words from someone who’s just revealed a recent fall into sin or in describing how they feel after indulging in some particular sin, especially life-dominating sins like sexual immorality, drug or alcohol abuse, etc.
I can certainly relate to that, I’ve felt that way sometimes myself.
However, is this sentiment Biblical? Does it do anything to help ensure that we won’t fall again? The answer to both of those question is ‘no’. In fact, I’m convinced that if we take this position after a fall, we’re increasing the chance that we’ll fall again in fairly short order.
· In order to hate ourselves we must maintain the focus that led us to sin in the first place. We fall to sin because we are self-focused rather than God-focused. The object of our hatred needs to be the sin and what it does to the heart of God. Hating myself puts me in the center of the equation still rather than God.
· Self-hatred is pride. It’s a me-focused pity party and an attempt to get right with God through our own actions (i.e. maybe if I beat myself up enough, God will forgive me). James 4:5-6 says: "Or do you think Scripture says without reason that the spirit he caused to live in us envies intensely? But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: 'God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.'" It is Grace that provides for our forgiveness, not how much we abase ourselves.
· It is often an attempt to skirt the real issues. If I put lots of energy and time into hating myself, I don’t have to deal with the things I should really be dealing with like amputating access to my sin, confession to a spouse or pastor, increasing my prayer and Bible study time, etc. In fact, we often try to substitute self-flagellation for real true repentance and for doing the difficult things that must be done in order to find freedom.
So, should we feel badly when we sin? Absolutely. In fact, one of the Holy Spirit’s jobs in the believer’s life is to convict us of sin (John 16:8). I don’t know about you but being under the conviction of the Holy Spirit usually makes me feel very uncomfortable! However, we need to act on that conviction in a constructive way, one that will draw us back to the Lord and decrease the chance that we’ll fall again. Hatred of self does not do that. Hatred of sin and putting God at the center of our lives, does.
This is very true, for
when someone truly loves
themself, the way they
should, they put GOD
first, when someone hates
themself, they have put
themself first, for that
is what they are
"considering the most"
well done! Your brother