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We have no right to hate ourselves
All the passages below are taken from Joyce Meyer’s book “Beauty for Ashes,” published in 1994 by Time Warner Book Group.
SHAME CAUSES SELF-REJECTION and, in some cases, self-hatred. In more extreme cases, it can develop into self-abuse, including self-mutilation. I have ministered to several people who have shown me scars on their bodies from their cutting, burning, or biting themselves, as well as bruises from their beating or hitting themselves, and bald spots from their pulling out their own hair.
Some people even starve themselves as a form of punishment. Others behave in an obnoxious manner so they will be rejected. Since they have rejected themselves, they are convinced that others will also reject them, so they manifest behavior in accordance with what they believe about themselves. The list of potential problems goes on and on, but I am sure you see the point I am making:
You cannot get beyond your own opinion of yourself---no matter how many good things God may say about you in His Word. Regardless of all the wonderful plans God may have for your life, none of them will come to pass without your cooperation.
You need to believe what God says.
ACCEPT GOD’S OPINION OF You
If you are seeking recovery from abuse, you must not allow other people’s opinions of you, as evidenced by the way you have been mistreated in the past, to determine your worth. Remember, people who feel worthless always try to find something wrong with you so they can feel a little better about themselves. Keep in mind that this is their problem, not yours.
In John 3:18, the Lord Jesus states that no one who believes in Him will ever be rejected by Him or His heavenly Father. If God accepts you because of your faith in His Son Jesus Christ, then you can stop rejecting yourself and let your healing process continue.
It may be that you are not totally rejecting yourself, but only parts of yourself that are displeasing to you. In my own case, I rejected my personality. I did not understand that I had a divine calling on my life to full-time ministry and that God designed my basic temperament for what He had for me to do.
My personality was flawed, of course, due to the years of abuse I had suffered, and was in need of Holy Spirit adjustment, but it was still the basic personality that God had chosen for me. However, because I did not understand that fact, I thought I had to become totally different. I was constantly trying to be someone else, which was not God’s will for me---nor is it His will that you become someone else.
Remember: God will help you be all you can be---all you were originally designed to be. But He will never permit you to be successful at becoming someone else.
THE SPIRIT-CONTROLLED TEMPERAMENT
Perhaps you have observed another person---a friend or a spiritual leader---and said, “He is the way people ought to be” or “She is liked and accepted by everyone.” You may have even tried to be like that individual without consciously planning to do so.
Of course, other people can be good examples to us, but even if we pattern ourselves after their good qualities, it must still be our own personal “flavor” of those good traits that characterizes us.
I have a bold, straightforward, decisive, take-charge personality. God instilled that type of nature in me to help me fulfill His call upon my life. However, for many, many years I struggled and lived in frustration because I kept trying to be more timid, mild, gentle, quiet, and sweet. I tried desperately not to be so assertive and aggressive.
The truth is that I vainly tried to model myself after my pastor’s wife, my husband, and various friends whom I respected and admired. My efforts only resulted in increased frustration, which made me even more difficult to get along with. I needed to learn to quit trying to be like others and simply become “the best me I could be.” Yes, I did need change. I did need more of the fruit of the Spirit---especially kindness, gentleness, and meekness---because I was too hard, harsh, and abrasive. But once I learned to accept my basic, God-given temperament, then I was able to let the Holy Spirit begin to change me into what He wanted me to be.
Once we quit striving to be like others, then the Spirit is able to use our strengths and to control our weaknesses. Then we begin to develop a “Spirit-controlled temperament.” This temperament is explained in Galatians 5:22-25:
But the fruit of the [Holy] Spirit [the work which His presence within accomplishes] is love, joy (gladness), peace, patience (an even temper, forbearance), kindness, goodness (benevolence), faithfulness,
Gentleness (meekness, humility), self-control (self-restraint, continence). Against such things there is no law [that can bring a charge].
And those who belong to Christ Jesus (the Messiah) have crucified the flesh (the godless human nature) with its passions and appetites and desires.
If we live by the [Holy] Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. [If by the Holy Spirit we have our life in God, let us go forward walking in line, our conduct controlled by the Spirit.]
Many years have passed since I finally learned that I had to accept and love myself, not hate and reject myself. I have since discovered the secret to developing the Spirit-controlled temperament. The key is spending personal time with the Lord and receiving help from Him on a regular basis.
STRENGTHENED IN THE INNER MAN
I still have weaknesses in my natural man; however, as long as
I abide in the Lord, seeking Him first, He continually imparts to me the power I need to manifest my strengths and not my weaknesses.
The apostle Paul prayed that the believers would be strengthened “in the inner man,” that the Holy Spirit would indwell their innermost being and personality:
May He grant you out of the rich treasury of His glory to be strengthened and reinforced with mighty power in the inner man by the [Holy] Spirit [Himself indwelling your innermost being and personality].
May Christ through your faith [actually] dwell (settle down, abide, make His permanent home) in your hearts! May you be rooted deep in love and founded securely on love,
That you may have the power and be strong to apprehend and grasp with all the saints [God’s devoted people, the experience of that love] what is the breadth and length and height and depth [of it];
[That you may really come] to know [practically, through experience for yourselves] the love of Christ, which far surpasses mere knowledge [without experience]; that you may be filled [through all your being] unto all the fullness of God [may have the richest measure of the divine Presence, and become a body wholly filled and flooded with God Himself]! (Ephesians 3:16-19 Amp)
This is our great need, to be strengthened in our “inner man” by the presence of God Himself. God told Paul, “My grace (My favor and loving-kindness and mercy) is enough for you [sufficient against any danger and enables you to bear the trouble manfully]; for My strength and power are made perfect (fulfilled and completed) and show themselves most effective in [your] weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9 Amp).
God’s strength is made perfect in our weakness. This means that when we are weak in a certain area, we do not have to hate or reject ourselves because of it. Like Paul, we have the great privilege of admitting our weaknesses and asking the Holy Spirit to control them.
In my flesh, I still have a tendency to be sharp, rude, and blunt. By the grace, strength, and power of the Lord, however, I am able to manifest “the fruit of the Spirit” and to be kind, pleasant, understanding, and longsuffering.
That does not mean that I never fail. Like everyone else, I slip and make mistakes. But I have come to understand that I do not have to be perfect in order to receive acceptance, love, and help from the Lord. Neither do you.
God is for you! He wants you to be for you. The devil is against you, and he wants you to be against you.
Are you for yourself or against yourself? Are you cooperating with God’s plan for your life, or with the devil’s plan for you? Are you in agreement with God or with the enemy?
ACCEPTED IN THE BELOVED
God chose us as His beloved, adopted children, setting us apart as His own:
Even as [in His love] He chose us [actually picked us out for Himself as His own] in Christ before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy (consecrated and set apart for Him) and blameless in His sight, even above reproach, before Him in love.
For He foreordained us (destined us, planned in love for us) to be adopted (revealed) as His own children through Jesus Christ, in accordance with the purpose of His will [because it pleased Him and was His kind intent]---
[So that we might be] to the praise and the commendation of His glorious grace (favor and mercy), which He so freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. (Ephesians 1:4-6 Amp)
In Exodus 19:5, the Lord tells His people that they are His own “peculiar possession and treasure.” That word applies to us today as much as it did to the children of Israel. In John 3:18, Jesus told Nicodemus that no one who believes in Him will ever be condemned (rejected). You may not feel treasured, or even acceptable, but you are. In Ephesians 1:6 KJV, Paul says that all of us who believe in Christ have been “accepted in the beloved.” That should give us a sense of personal value and worth.
I remember standing in a prayer line where I overheard a woman next to me telling the pastor who was ministering to her how much she hated and despised herself. The pastor became very firm with her and in a strong manner rebuked her, saying, “Who do you think you are? You have no right to hate yourself. God paid a high price for you and your freedom. He loved you so much that He sent His only Son to die for you to suffer in your place. You have no right to hate or reject yourself. Your part is to receive what Jesus died to give you!”
The woman was shocked. I was shocked too, just listening. Yet sometimes it takes a strong word to get us to realize the trap that Satan has set for us.
Self-rejection and self-hatred can almost seem pious in a sense. They can become a way of punishing ourselves for our mistakes, failures, and inabilities. We cannot be perfect, so we reject and despise ourselves.
I ask you to think of these prophetic words in Isaiah 53:3, which describe our Lord Jesus Christ: “He was despised and rejected and forsaken by men, a Man of sorrows and pains, and acquainted with grief and sickness; and like One from Whom men hide their faces He was despised, and we did not appreciate His worth or have any esteem for Him.”
Do you lack appreciation for your own value and worth? Surely, you are valuable; otherwise your heavenly Father would not have paid such a heavy price for your redemption.
Isaiah 53:4-5 goes on to say that Christ “has borne our griefs (sicknesses, weaknesses, and distresses) and carried our sorrows and pains [of punishment], yet we [ignorantly] considered Him stricken, smitten, and afflicted by God [as if with leprosy]. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our guilt and iniquities; the chastisement [needful to obtain] peace and well-being for us was upon Him, and with the stripes [that wounded] Him we are healed and made whole.”
The “healing package” purchased by Jesus with His blood is available to all who will believe and receive. That package includes the healing of the emotions as well as the body. If a person has done wrong, justice demands rejection, despising, and condemnation. However, Jesus bore all that for us, just as He bore our sins. What a glorious truth!
Since Jesus bore your sins on the cross, along with the hatred, rejection, and condemnation they deserved, you do not have to reject or hate yourself anymore.
The day I started our ministry, I asked God, “What do You want me to teach at the first meeting?”
He said, “I want you to tell My people that I love them.”
I argued, “Oh, I want a message of power.” That’s what I said! I wanted to be God’s woman of power for the hour. I wanted something that would just stun people with great revelation. I said, “Everybody knows You love them. I can’t go preach John 3:16.”
He said, “No, very few of My people know that I love them. If they did, they would act a whole lot different than what they do.”
The Bible says, “There is no fear in love [dread does not exist], but full-grown (complete, perfect) love turns fear out of doors and expels every trace of terror! For fear brings with it the thought of punishment, and [so] he who is afraid has not reached the full maturity of love [is not yet grown into love’s complete perfection]. We love Him, because He first loved us” (1 John 4:18-19 Amp). I understood that if God’s people knew how much He loved them, they would not be fearful. If they knew the love of God, they would not run from Him, they would run to Him.
So for a year after that first teaching, I meditated on the love of God. I would drive in my car saying, “God loves me. God loves me. He loves me, me. The Creator of the universe loves me.” The first book that I wrote was a result of spending this year of focus on God’s love. It is called Tell Them I Love Them.
Once you understand that God loves you, you can love yourself in a balanced way. Look at yourself in the minor and say to yourself, “God loves you.” Receive and accept yourself; tell yourself frequently, “I accept you.”
After saying, “You shall love the Lord your God,” Jesus added, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these” (Mark 12:30-31 Amp). If you cannot get along with or love yourself, you will find it too difficult to get along with or love anyone else. Let the healing love of God do a work in your life.
Give yourself a hug sometimes, simply as a reminder that God loves you, and therefore you are lovable. Wrap your arms around yourself and say: “I no longer reject myself! Instead, I accept myself in Christ. I love myself, not selfishly but in a balanced way. I am not perfect, but with the help of the Lord I am improving day by day”
WHAT ABOUT REJECTION FROM OTHERS?
Most likely, sooner or later, you will experience some form of rejection. Not everybody will like you. Some people may even aggressively dislike you. It is extremely helpful that you develop a mature attitude in this area.
We know that Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man (see Luke 2:52). In my own case, I ask God for favor with Him and with people, and I believe that He provides it. I suggest that you do the same. Here is a prayer to help you achieve an acceptable attitude:
Today, Lord, I am going to do my best, with Your help, and for Your glory. I realize that there are many different people in the world with a variety of opinions and expectations. I probably will not please all of them all of the time. I will concentrate on being a God-pleaser and not a self-pleaser or a man-pleaser. The rest I leave in Your hands, Lord. Grant me favor with You and with men, and continue transforming me into the image of Your dear Son. Thank You, Lord.
No one enjoys being rejected, but all of us can learn to handle rejection and get on with our lives, if we remember that Jesus was also rejected and despised. He gained the victory over rejection by being faithful to God’s plan for His life.
Rejection from other people wounds our emotions. It certainly hurts, and yet, for our own sake, we must remember that, if we are born again, the Helper (the Holy Spirit) lives in us to strengthen, undergird, and comfort us.
I think we spend valuable time and energy trying to avoid being rejected. We become “pleasers of men” (see Ephesians
6:6; Colossians 3:22). After all, we reason, if we can keep everyone else happy, they will not reject us.
To avoid pain, some of us build walls around ourselves so we will not get hurt, but that is pointless. God has shown me that it is impossible to live in this world if we are not willing to get hurt. People are not perfect; therefore they hurt and disappoint us, just as we hurt and disappoint others.
I have a wonderful husband, but occasionally he has hurt me. Because I came from such a painful background, the moment that kind of thing happened, I used to put up walls to protect myself. After all, I reasoned, no one can hurt me if I don’t let anyone get close to me. However, I learned that if I wall others out, I also wall myself in.
The Lord has shown me that He wants to be my Protector, but He cannot do that if I am busy trying to protect myself. He has not promised that I will never get hurt, but He has promised to heal me if I come to Him rather than try to take care of everything myself.
If you build walls around yourself out of fear, then you must tear them down out of faith. Go to Jesus with each old wound and receive His healing grace. When someone hurts you, take that new wound to Jesus. Do not let it fester. Take it to the Lord and be willing to handle it His way and not your own.
Receive this scripture as a personal promise from the Lord to you: “For I will restore health to you, and I will heal your wounds, says the Lord, because they have called you an outcast, saying, This is Zion, whom no one seeks after and for whom no one cares!” (Jeremiah 30:17 Amp).
Confess with the psalmist: “Although my father and my mother have forsaken me, yet the Lord will take me up [adopt me as His child]” (Psalm 27:10 Amp).
With the help of the Lord, you can survive rejection and find your completion “in Him.” (96-106)
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