The Evangelical Universalist Forum

Proper Self-Hatred

You cannot be a good person until you know how much evil you contain within you. ~~ Psychologist Jordan Peterson

This is where a proper self hatred comes into play. God’s hatred and hardening in the Bible is Him simply removing His Gaze (loving influence) off of people. God’s hatred is when He lets people go their own way (separation). It’s non-violent. Hating self is when we turn our focus away from ourselves and let ourselves go. Our focus flows outward away from ourselves. We lose ourselves to find ourselves like people do when they read, dance or color or paint. The focus is moving away from yourself as everything balances out. We love God and or neighbor as ourselves (true self). Focusing on Christ we find our eternal worth, and significance in Him. By beholding His glory we are transformed from glory to glory in His image. This is when we find a healthy self-esteem. Evil is non-existence (nothing). We simply forget about ourselves turning our focus on God and others. As C.S. Lewis puts it:

In God you come up against something which is in every respect immeasurably superior to yourself. Unless you know God as that - and, therefore, know yourself as nothing in comparison - you do not know God at all ~~ Mere Christianity, page 124

The real test of being in the presence of God is, that you either forget about yourself all together or see yourself as a small, dirty object. It is better to forget about yourself altogether.
~~ C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, page 125

So - loving others as we love ourselves, or loving our enemies, actually means loathing them as we loathe ourselves? Nah.
CSL blew it on this one.

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As I already stated when you lose yourself you find yourself. Old self - new self. Our focus flows outward away from ourselves. We lose ourselves to find ourselves like people do when they read, dance or color or paint. The focus is moving away from yourself as everything balances out. We love God and our neighbor as ourselves (true self). Focusing on Christ we find our eternal worth, and significance in Him. By beholding His glory we are transformed from glory to glory in His image. This is when we find a healthy self-esteem

The jolly and mentally healthy C.S. Lewis was correct

The dot here is me concentrating on Christ in worship and loving others. When I help others I get out of myself and it helps me

“Proper self hatred”. What a bunch of nonsense.

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Here’s a theory. What if to properly know yourself, you have to know other people first. If you spend time working in other people’s lives instead of your own, maybe you better figure out your own purpose and who you are.

Psychologist Jordan Peterson explains how he hates that part of him that could be deeply satisfied as an Auschwitz prison guard. He believes that part of him is worthy of hate. The best way to overcome it is to recognize it in yourself and constrain it.

Again, What we are seeing from the clinical psychologist Jordan Peterson in the above video is that there is a proper hatred of self. The idea that Christianity causes mental illness does hold up to the evidence in psychology. Here’s the Calvinist view from John Piper on hating the self. He agrees with what I’m saying. He says to hate the sinful self but love the new self:

From the article:

Let me first say something that will probably strike Isaac as depressing. And then, I hope, because it is true and because it is real and because of the wider biblical context, it will be hope-giving and not just depressing. I think it is impossible to really hate our sin and know that this sin originates in my corrupt heart and not hate that part; that is, hate my heart, my sinning self, insofar as I am corrupt, world-loving, God-hating, rebellious. And that is who we all are without the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit. ~~ John Piper

More from the article:

Now, of course, God enters into our lives with the power of the Spirit. The old man is crucified. Sins are forgiven. A new nature is given through rebirth. The Holy Spirit takes up residence in our hearts. He begins to lead us in paths of righteousness. We are not the same people anymore that we once were in such awful rebellion. So, you might think: Well, that is the end of that self-hate.

There are two catches. One is that Paul tells us to remember what we came from in Ephesians 2:12. This is just ten verses later than what I just read from Ephesians 2: “Remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.” So, remember that. Don’t forget that. Bring that to your mind. Let it humble you. Hate that old self.

The other catch is that, in spite of our newness in Christ, the old nature must be seen and recognized now and put to death now, daily. Paul said, “Put to death . . . what is earthly in you” (Colossians 3:5). Reckon to be dead to that old nature. You can’t put your old nature to death if you love it. In cases like this, you only kill what you hate. And it is not just sin that you kill. It is the old you that keeps trying to raise its head, and you must hate that old you.

“It would be sin if you hated the new you that the Holy Spirit is shaping after the image of Christ.”

And, yes, it is a real you. I base that on Romans 7:24 where Paul cries out, “Wretched man that I am!” — not just, Wretched sin that I do. He is not calling the work of the Holy Spirit wretched. No, he is not, because he says in Romans 7:18, “I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh.” But he knows that something good does dwell in him. The Holy Spirit dwells in him. A new nature dwells in him. What he is calling “wretched” is his old sinful nature. And the way he says it is, “Wretched man that I am!” And he knows he is still responsible for those acts that crop up from his old nature.

So, in that sense I think there is a genuine and proper self-hatred that is essential to fighting the fight of faith. Now, here are two or three warnings how that — what I just said — can go haywire.

  1. I have already said it would be sin if you hated the new you that the Holy Spirit is shaping after the image of Christ. Every hint of godliness, every degree of love to Christ, every mustard seed of faith should cause you to feel thankful that God is at work in you, making you new. It is a sin to hate this new work of God. Don’t ever hate what God has wrought in you by the power of the Holy Spirit. And he is at work in you if you are born again. And here are two more warnings how things can go haywire.

  2. Jesus bases his whole argument for self denial on the preciousness of the human soul, the value of everlasting existence. Listen to how he says it. “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” Here is his argument: “For whoever would save his life will lose it.” Well, you don’t want to lose it. “But whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it.” And you do want to save it. And then he adds, “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit [or lose] his soul? For what can a man give in return for his soul?” (Mark 8:34–37). The whole argument, the basis of Jesus’s argument, is: You should love your soul — that is, love it in the sense of doing whatever it takes to save it.

So, in this sense, we should never, never, never hate our soul. That is, we should never act in a way that destroys the soul. The whole world is acting as though they hate their soul by living in sin. We should love our souls in the sense that we will do anything, we will deny ourselves anything, we will sell anything, we will go anywhere, we will believe Jesus to the max — including any self denial — in order to save our souls. That is the way Jesus is arguing. So, don’t ever become a self-hater in the sense that you don’t care about saving your soul, but only destroying it.

  1. And the last warning about how things can go haywire in this recommendation that there is a genuine self hatred that belongs to the Christian life is the third warning. Don’t dwell on your past corruption or on your present remaining corruption to the degree that it keeps you from leaning into hope with such joy that you are set free to love. And here is the text: “Brothers . . . one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal of the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13–14).

“Don’t dwell on your corruption to the degree that it keeps you from joy, freedom, and love.”

Notice the key words: forgetting what lies behind. So yes, remember your corruption enough to humble yourself and keep yourself utterly dependent on grace (Ephesians 2:12). But forget your corruption if it ever keeps you back from pressing on toward the goal of the prize of the upward call of God in Christ with joy and hope and confidence and love.

So Isaac, that is how you measure whether your self-hatred is pathological and self-defeating, or whether it is Christ-exalting and hope-giving. Does it throw you on to grace in Christ? Does it intensify your love to Jesus and your confidence in his love for you and his readiness to use you for his glory? Say to yourself often: I am the temple of the Holy Spirit. I am not my own. I was bought with a price. I will glorify God in my body (1 Corinthians 6:19–20).

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Thanks, Hollytree, for introducing this topic. As an ex-Calvinist, I don’t agree with Piper’s theological take on several doctrinal issues but I think he is right on this one. You have expressed your thoughts very clearly and persuasively.

Yes, I hate myself - there, I’ve said it! I hate myself for the sins I committed in the past, too many to enumerate. I hate myself for my propensity to sin, which is somewhat lesser now as I get older but is still there. Yes, my old nature was crucified with Christ yet it hangs on to life and refuses to die. As Paul puts it, there is a constant battle going on within my soul between the old and the new. I know I face no condemnation from God because I am in Christ Jesus my Lord but that fact does not by itself free me from loathing myself from the remembrance of the sinful actions and unkind words done and said in the past, especially during the 54 years I spent with my dear wife who is now in glory.

Am I being too hard on myself? I don’t think so.

Here is a much wiser approach imo.

‘Self-crucifixion, justly viewed, is the suppression of the passions, that the power and progress of thought, and conscience, and pure love, may be unrestrained. It is the destruction of the brute, that the angel may unfold itself within. It is founded on our godlike capacities, and the expansion and glory of these is its end. Thus the very duty, which by some is identified with self-contempt, implies and imposes self-reverence. It is the belief and the choice of perfection as our inheritance and our end.’

“We know that there is a lenity towards human deficiencies full of danger ; but there is, too, a severity far more common, and perhaps more ruinous. Human nature, as ordinarily exhibited, merits rebuke ; but whoever considers the sore trials, the thick darkness, the impetuous will, the strong passions, under which man commences his moral probation, will temper rebuke with pity and hope. There is a wisdom, perhaps the rarest and sublimest attainment of the intellect, which is at once liberal and severe, indulgent and unbending ; which makes merciful and equitable allowance for the innocent infirmities, the necessary errors, the obstructions and temptations of human beings, and at the same time asserts the majesty of virtue, strengthens the sense of accountableness, binds on us self-denial, and points upward, with a never-ceasing importunity, to moral perfection, as the great aim and only happiness of the human soul.”

Thanks Dave. That is helpful, to a point.

That’s all well and good. I know I am capable of living out “the majesty of virtue”, even showing Christ’s love to others. Many here in the seniors complex where I live would attest to that. Still, I can’t get away from my sinfulness. As the old hymn puts it: “Prone to wander, Lord I feel it, prone to leave the God I love”. I know He has forgiven and forgotten all my past sins. My problem is that I can’t forget them, nor can I forgive myself for having committed them.

There is a world of difference between knowing how much evil is within you, and hating yourself.
The former can lead to eliminating the evil through the enabling grace of Jesus, made available through His sacrificial death.

The latter— self-hatred— can lead to giving up, and becoming incapable of behaving in such a way as to deal with that evil in a positive way. Many personal problems arise from self-hatred. Psychologists attempt to help the self-hating person to deal with his self-image of being a hopelessly wicked person.

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An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life:

“A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy.

“It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil–he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.”

He continued, “The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you–and inside every other person, too.”

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: “Which wolf will win?”

The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”

Hate the Old Self (Ego) sinful self.

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Again, here’s the Psychologist Jordan Peterson explaining how he hates that part of himself that could be deeply satisfied as an Auschwitz prison guard. He believes that part of himself is worthy of hate. The best way to overcome it is to recognize it in yourself and constrain it.

There’s nothing psychologically damaging about it. EU thinks like atheists. This where they get their worldview. They say the God of the Bible is Molech because of the Atonement. This is evil blasphemy.

The old evil self is let go of. Don’t feed the ego. Feed the new self in Christ by praising and worshiping God. The focus is on Christ in meditation and praise and worship. Starve the evil wolf by turning your focus and concentration off of self and on to God and others. When we lose ourselves we find ourselves. Old self dies new self emerges. It’s a balance of loving God and others as yourself. Focusing on Christ we become one with Him. Psychologists call it flow. Athletes call it being in the zone. Just as a musician becomes one with his instrument when getting in the zone or flow. They play their instrument so well in the present moment that they become one with it. Everything flows in this particular state. Everything is in harmony. Athletes rave about this state during competition. We let go and flow as we meditate on Christ. Beholding His glory (beauty of His worth and value) we are transformed from one degree of glory to another. We find our worth and value in Him. To learn more about flow here’s a book by J.P. Moreland where he talks of how he overcome anxiety and panic.

This book has a whole chapter on what psychologists call flow or being in the zone. Being in the zone is the ultimate in focus and concentration.

Here’s the book J.P. Moreland references and endorses called “You are not your Brain”. It’s on neuroplasticity and how we rewire or brain by refocusing. Written by two psychiatrists.

After steps one and two you refocus and restructure your brain. Here’s a list of some of the things that get you in the present moment:

Go for a walk noticing the scenery and environment

Exercise

Listen to music

Read

Write, blog

Play games like solitare

Work

Watch a wholesome or educational T.V. show

A hobby that focuses your attention like coloring, painting, putting models together. Anything that gets the attention focused and flowing outside of self. Here’s an artcle on adult coloring:

https://health.clevelandclinic.org/3-reasons-adult-coloring-can-actually-relax-brain/?fbclid=IwAR2Q6kpFfPPNMvQ7eHq76SXzsRH2hqhV1eDmGITHhrivT0q7bZkQBBgbOkA

3 Reasons Adult Coloring Can Actually Relax Your Brain

Find out what’s behind the latest craze

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Colored Pencils

It’s the latest craze. Where you might expect to see children, you find adults: They sit with colored pencils in their hands, bent over the swirls and intricate patterns of coloring books. Yes, coloring books. They are losing themselves in patterns of mandalas, curved flowers and runaway stems. This is a world they create and escape into, and it’s become a popular form of relaxation.

But how does it work? What does this pastime do to our brains to elicit such pleasure and calm?

According to clinical psychologist Scott M. Bea, Psy.D., it has everything to do with refocusing our attention. “Adult coloring requires modest attention focused outside of self-awareness. It is a simple activity that takes us outside ourselves. In the same way, cutting the lawn, knitting, or taking a Sunday drive can all be relaxing.”

What does adult coloring do to relax people?

Dr. Bea cites three reasons adult coloring can be calming:

  1. Attention flows away from ourselves. A simple act, such as coloring, takes your attention away from yourself and onto the present-moment event. “In this way, it is very much like a meditative exercise,” Dr. Bea says.
  2. It relaxes the brain. When thoughts are focused on a simple activity, your brain tends to relax. “We are not disturbed by our own thoughts and appraisals,” he says. “The difficulties of life evaporate from our awareness, and both our bodies and our brains may find this rewarding.”
  3. Low stakes make it pleasurable. The fact that the outcome of coloring is predictable also can be relaxing. “It is hard to screw up coloring, and, even if you do, there is no real consequence. As result, adult coloring can be a wonderful lark, rather than an arduous test of our capacities,” he adds.

Why does it help some people but not others?

Adult coloring does not relax everyone. It depends on the individual and their prior experiences. Dr. Bea suspects that the more a person enjoyed coloring as a child, the more likely he or she is to respond to it positively as an adult. “It has been my impression that adults choose variants of activities they loved as children for their adult recreations,” he says.

Is there research to support it as a form of relaxation?

Research on adult coloring specifically is limited, as it has risen in popularity relatively recently. However art therapy has been used for many years with much success.

In a 2006 study, researchers found that mindfulness art therapy for women with cancer helped to significantly decrease the symptoms of physical and emotional distress during their treatment. Art therapy has also been helpful to people cope with other conditions, including depression, anxiety, addictions and trauma.

“While adult coloring may differ slightly from this mindfulness art therapy, I suspect the adult coloring would yield similar results. It is likely that its therapeutic benefits would be similar to listening to a person’s favorite music,” Dr. Bea says.

Why has this become popular now?

Having hobbies to help de-stress is nothing new, whether people like to golf, cook, build model airplanes or put together scrap books. People are also open to finding new ways to unwind. “We have a very stress-inducing culture, and I think individuals are always seeking new ways to reduce tension, restore feelings of well-being, and reduce the toll that our stressful lives take on our health,” Dr. Bea says.