When we feel unloved, worthless, rejected; we often believe it’s because we are unlovable and worthy of rejection. Of course, those are lies, as revealed in God’s Word.
But I think the deeper lie is nestled in who we think we are as compared to how others treat us.
The lure of Satan and the flesh is believing that we will be like God – that we should be lifted high because we are mighty. Our insecurities lie in the anger we have because others don’t treat us the way we think they ought.
Fear, for example, comes about because of lack of control. Same with anger.
A child who is raised by parents who abuse (physically, emotionally, verbally) will easily grow up fearing everyone, unable to trust; that fear may manifest as anger. That child’s first interest is self-preservation. Children learn some pretty kooky ways to protect themselves. Sometimes they get smart-alecky. Sometimes they crawl inside themselves and are very quiet. Sometimes they become bullies. Sometimes they become extra nice/giving. Sometimes they turn to substance abuse, or fornication. Sometimes they become murderers. Sometimes they learn to act just like everyone else so they can blend in. Each person carves out their own safe zone, however they think will work best for them.
But the real root is self. No matter how a person is treated, we are responsible for our own actions, attitudes, words, and emotions. We may point to a horrible childhood and excuse horrible behavior. But the root of it is a person feeling that they deserve better, and they’re doing whatever they know how to get there.
Consider a person who was raised in a wealthy family, even a loving wealthy family. As he grows, he is showered with everything he wants. Is he satisfied? No. Flesh always demands more: more respect, more love, more power. Look at Nebuchadnezzar in the book of Daniel. Look at King Saul. Look at Haman in the book of Esther.
In a “perfect” fleshly world, everyone would treat us with love and respect all the time. If they didn’t, they would be struck with guilt and apologize all over the place to us. We like to think we would never have to apologize to anyone because we never do anything wrong. But, if we did make a mistake, we just know, because everyone is so nice, that we would be forgiven and our wrong forgotten. Then, we think, we would be happy and have a great self-image and be nice to everyone. What we really want, in our flesh, is complete control over everything. THEN, we think, everything would be alright. Of course, there can be no perfect fleshly world because we always would want more than what we get. (Adam and Eve lived in a perfect world, and wanted more than they had.)
Flesh is flesh, no matter how it is raised. And flesh will always sin in the climb to obtain what it desires most – to become like God in its own efforts.
May I submit that negative thoughts are sin.
I imagine Jesus (as much as my human mind is able): Someone rushes past Him in a hurry, knocks Him aside, and doesn’t apologize. Or someone hurls cruel words at Him (as they indeed did); or as a child He makes a mistake and that nail goes in crooked. I don’t believe He berated Himself or others, even in His mind. Because He was God, He was able to take every thought captive, able to continually set His mind on things above. I don’t believe He had negative thoughts, because He never sinned.
As contrary to flesh as this appears, God is the answer – the only answer. He created us, He knows our flesh, and He designed us to desire Him above all. When we live outside that design, we become miserable and tend to blame everything outside of ourselves, and we get mad at ourselves when we’re not perfect.
So I think the answer to people with low self-images, or who think they are unimportant or worthless; I think the answer is not to build them up and try to talk them into believing that they really are worthy (worthy of whatever – love from people or love from God). I think the answer is in digging down deep and realizing what sinful flesh resides in us; in understanding that I am indeed a sinner and that I don’t like to think that about myself. That others are also sinners, and everyone hurts everyone else – I hurt people, too.
This is sin to be confessed. People must realize, confess, and repent of sin.
If fear or anger result from lack of control, we must give up our right to control, and trust God: He is the One Who controls it all, anyway. You are not on top of the totem pole, not the CEO, not the VIP: God always is. Trust that God is in control, and that He has your best interests at heart. Rest deeply in God. Give it to Him. If you don’t trust God, confess that sin of unbelief.
The whole point is to point people to God – it’s all in His Word. We MUST understand and believe that we are as dust. We must understand that our flesh is evil (Jeremiah 17.9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?). We must confess that before God. All our self-loathing comes from trying to deny the fact that we are sinners, and from not accepting / believing that God pursues us and woos us because He loves us so much, and that He forgives us because He wants us to have His Peace.
What – a loathsome sinner like me? He loves ME? Believe it.
He will forgive ME? Yes!
1 John 1.9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
HE is the faithful One! HE is the perfect One. HE is the One who can and will cleanse us and set us free.
Do not fall into the sin of unbelief. If God says He loves you and that you are precious to Him (you can read a little about that here) – then BELIEVE it! 😁 Do not doubt God Almighty.
We must live in complete dependence on Jesus Christ. Without Him we can do nothing (John 15.5). Give up the false notion that you can do it yourself.
If you want to know more about yourself, read God’s Word.
If you want to feel better about yourself, read the passages about how much God loves you.
But be sure to read the passages that show what a sinner you are, too, because that’s how much you need Him.
When you have these negative thoughts, these vain imaginations, substitute with words of praise, and the Word of God. Here are some passages for you:
God gives us the whole Truth in His Word. It’s important to know the whole Truth, because it’s that Truth that will set you free. John 8.31, 32 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; 32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
Ephesians 3.14-19 For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.
2 Corinthians 10. 3For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: 4(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) 5Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; 6And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.
Romans 8. 13For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15For you did not receive a spirit of slavery that returns you to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17And if we are children, then we are heirs: heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ—if indeed we suffer with Him, so that we may also be glorified with Him.
A note of thanks to Stu and his postings derived from the “Get Out of Your Head” series by Jennie Allen, which inspired this post