Self-hatred is a sin which is most difficult to address. It remains hidden, sniping at every joy of life. It stains every view like a dirty window. I have been asking myself two questions: How common is self-hatred among believers and how bad can it really be?
Self-hatred remains hidden because of the “frog in hot water” syndrome. Although it affects every relationship, and most tragically, our relationship with our Heavenly Father, we seldom have anything in our lives with which to compare it, so it goes unrecognized by one’s self. It is easier to see in others, but little can be done to help others (Matthew 7:3).
Perhaps the symptoms can more easily be recognized:
- Easily rejects and dislikes others. Sometimes this person is a loner, or at least considered difficult to get along with. Sometimes they simply demonstrate a big difference in how they treat those they like and those they don’t.
- Unable to overcome bad habits and harmful life-styles. If there is not a drug and alcohol problem, there is probably “comfort” addictions, such as tobacco or eating disorders (like eating too much, or too often because he or she doesn’t feel well). I eat when I’m mad, frustrated or discouraged, by the way.
- Quickly take offense over the actions and statements of others. If this one is not a victim in every situation, they can quickly tell you what is wrong with everyone else.
- Frequently feels and expresses defeat and worthlessness. This one gives up quickly in defeat, or could suffer from depression they cannot explain.
- Struggles with jealousy and comparisons to others.
- Is uncomfortable around, or very impatient with, people who are more comfortable with themselves.
- Lacks confidence and displays reluctance in attempting something new.
- Is extremely favorable to condemning sermons and lessons, and finds the condemning element in every passage of scripture.
- Is extremely clingy to those who freely love with unconditional love.
- Is typically negative towards dreams and vision of growth, service, fellowship, worship and missions.
- Is easily discouraged when upon a task or assignment.
OK, I bet you get the picture. The problem is, this person usually just thinks this is the way they are because this is how they have always been. This is how life is, and he or she has come to accept it.
I know where you are coming from. May I suggest a little help for you? First, let me point out the sin of self-hatred.
As Christians, we are taught to hate the sin but love the sinner. Jesus demonstrated this with the woman caught in adultery (John 8:1-11), and his other teachings of, such as preferring the sinful publican with humility than the model citizen with pride (Luke 18:9-14). Jesus was truly the friend of sinners (Luke 2:14-17).
If we are commanded to love all the way God loves all, how can we have a hatred for ourselves?