I’m pretty sure we’ve talked about these two issues before, but it bears repeating. We hear so much untruth over the airwaves, from cyberspace, in self-help books, on TV, and even in our college classrooms these days that it’s easy for us to lose sight of simple truth.
Do you understand that the Snowflake Generation is so weak and helpless because they are completely focused on SELF and FEELINGS?
The other day, I was talking with a lovely young woman who seems to bear the weight of the world on her shoulders. She has a sorry history, mostly of her own making, and she needs forgiveness. She needs to understand a couple of important things that the philosophy of self-forgiveness and self-love have completely obscured.
Self-forgiveness. “Well, I know God has forgiven me, BUT I just can’t forgive myself.”
This is a huge lie, straight from the father of lies. It is effective because, as always, Satan wraps his lies in a thin tissue of truth. Look at it carefully, though. There’s a glaring error.
Yes, God has forgiven me. However, self-forgiveness is never, ever mentioned in God’s Word. It is a lie and one that has kept people enslaved in their misery over the centuries. Think about it logically. Think about it biblically.
If you know God has forgiven you, then what more do you need? is His forgiveness not enough? Does it fall short? Can YOU improve on what God has done? The Bible says, in I John 1:9, that if we confess (agree with God) our sin, He is faithful and just (dependable and fair) to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse (purify) us from ALL unrighteousness!
To believe you must forgive yourself is to believe that your power is greater than God’s; that forgiveness is not complete, not even by God, until you have forgiven yourself! How full of pride we are! No, self-forgiveness is not what you need. What you need is to believe that God’s forgiveness is complete; what you need is to pray sincerely and ask Him to help you KNOW that you are forgiven, and to keep Satan from whispering his nasty lies in your ear. Rather than being burdened with the need for self-forgiveness, you need to rejoice, dance and sing, praise God with all your heart, that His forgiveness is sufficient and that you are free of the sin that tangled you up and kept you captive.
Here’s the next lie: “You can’t love others until you love yourself.” Who is at the center of that nonsense? YOU. Self. Primary person is self. If that’s your focus, you’re going to become a very difficult person for others to love.
When I was a little girl, I learned a song. The words were, “Jesus, and Others, and You, what a wonderful way to spell JOY” (the lyrics will show in the second verse of the video)
Jesus said, in Matt. 22:36-40, that the first and greatest commandment is to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. Then He said that the second greatest commandment is to love others as we love ourselves.
What is implicit in that second commandment? Look at it carefully. What does Jesus know about us? “Love others as we love ourselves.” He knows that it is in our sinful, fallen nature to love ourselves above all else.
Have you ever had a baby? Then surely, you understand self-love. That adorable precious little infant fusses and cries and sometimes screams his little head off, for what? So someone else can be cleaned, cuddled, and fed? Of course not. All he knows is his own needs and wants, and he demands them regularly. We never lose that tendency to take care of our own needs. We eat, we groom ourselves, we give in to our desires through addictions, self-indulgence, and self-love. We take care of ourselves. We love ourselves. A child doesn’t need to be taught self-love. He doesn’t need to be taught to say “Mine!” It comes hard-wired in his little brain. It’s true that as we grow up, we learn (I hope) to take pleasure in doing for others, in caring for others. But the sad truth is that we also get pleasure from giving to others. Self is always lurking there, saying “What about ME?”
So Jesus, because He is God, knows that we love ourselves and that we don’t have to learn to do so. And He tells us that second only to loving God is our need to learn to love others in the same way we love ourselves.
Turn your focus outward, not inward. Look at the needs of others, not your own sense of unworthiness (which, by the way, Satan fosters and feeds), and learn to be wise about the psychobabble self-help stuff that’s out there. Measure it against God’s Word. Look for the truth, and you will be relieved of the burden of self-forgiveness and self-love.
Realize that the first word in both those lies is SELF.