August 5, 2022

The Trap of Self-Hatred

Key Verse to Read and Treasure

For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church (Ephesians 5:29, ESV)

For Insight

We have talked about the dangers of entertaining hatred in a general sense or having hatred toward others. But, what about self-hatred? How does God feel about that? Paul makes a profound statement in Ephesians when he writes no one ever hates his own flesh but nourishes and cherishes it; implying that self-hatred is not natural, instinctive, or from God. We do not come to hate ourselves because the Spirit of God leads us to do so but because we have help from our arch enemy, the devil.  

There are many things that might get us to the point of self-hatred or loathing: jealously, coveting what others have or look like, receiving criticism over a period of time, feeling condemned or judged by someone, the vanities of this world that trap and shame us; measuring ourselves against others, lead to a desire to remake ourselves. I’m sure women are not the only ones who entertain self-hatred against their own flesh. I’m sure men must do it too. Maybe not in the same way or about the same areas. I have heard many women express more than dislike about their body but have strong feelings of hate about some area: thighs, behind, breasts, facial features. Losing sight that this flesh is only temporary, and our eternal bodies are waiting for us in heaven. They are fallen and will eventually break down and while we should not worship it we should take great care, love, and nourish it.   

Self-hatred makes a mockery of the way God created us; a mockery of the love God has for us. Since God does not want us to hate ourselves, self-hatred must come from the one who is hate and promotes hate. It is to our enemy’s benefit if we partner with him in our hatred and what can be more profound or victorious than if he can get us to hate even our own flesh? For all hate, even self-hate leads to destruction and eventually annihilation. Many have a self-hatred that is so strong it leads to doing harmful things against their own flesh and body: cutting, altering of body parts, taking drugs, starvation, overeating, or participating in activities that lead to self-destruction.   

God neither wants us to love ourselves so much we worship our self, but he does not want us to hate ourselves, our bodies, or minds so much that we destroy ourselves either. God desires that we have a healthy sense of self, and love what He loves, remembering and learning how He took time to shape and create us in a loving fashion. If we identify a spirit of self-hatred in ourselves, we can be comforted to know there are things we can do to get a right balance: studying the Word of God to see how we are precious to Him and how He loves us with an everlasting love and seeking sound, biblical counsel to gain a right and renewed perspective on self-love which promotes life and liberty.       

Praying Ephesians 5:29

Father, point out to me any way in me that has become self-hatred and help me to adopt Your feelings toward me as my very own. The world will not be my best resource or encourager—for it always finds something to criticize about me—that keeps me questioning, doubting, and loathing—feeling as thought I need to change or extract something. Teach me, O God how to love and care for myself in a healthy way that glorifies You. Amen.     

Prayer Challenge

Is there something about yourself that you hate? Ask God to help you correct those feelings and attitude and to learn to love yourself and how He made you.

Digging Deeper

Read Genesis 1:27

Read Psalm 139:1-14

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