Thursday, September 5, 2013

Do You Loathe Yourself?

Perhaps you should? Loathe yourself that is!

To loathe means to detest or abhor. Our culture is adverse to tell anyone they should loathe themselves. As one who has suffered from depression, I know there is a difference between unhealthy loathing & godly loathing. Yes, loathing can be godly.

Godly loathing is when we recognize a before & after picture of ourselves. We see ourselves in the light of Christ. And we can see what God hates. This is the loathing I am talking about. You see, when we are in Christ, we are to be a new creation. The old has passed away. We know this because we recognize it.

When I was younger, I attended church, believed in God, never questioned whether I would go to heaven or hell. God loves me after all, right? I heard it from the pulpit. So it must be true. But I never really was confronted with the holiness of God, that I belong to Him, or those classical doctrines one can find in the back of the Prayer Book, like original sin. I knew Jesus died for me so that made everything okay. But all along I was living in sin. No, I wasn't cohabiting with a woman. I was just sinning like any other sinner. If the opportunity for fornication availed itself, I fornicated. If I lusted after any attractive woman, I was a normal American male. In other words, I did not loathe myself.

When God sent Ezekiel to the exiles of Israel, he reminds them that God will return them home. "And there you shall remember your ways and all your deeds with which you have defiled yourselves, and you shall loathe yourselves for all the evils that you have committed." (Ez. 20:43) This message was directed to the remnant of the community of Israel. But it's import cannot be lost on the Christian today for we find our home in Christ as individuals. (Lk. 15:11-32) In Christ we shall loathe ourselves. Not a warm & fuzzy invitation for repentance. But that is what repentance is, to have a change of heart about ourselves & our relationship to God. Looking back, I see how my attitudes and behavior were offensive to the one who created me. I loathe was I did. There are still aspects of my life I loathe but I did not recognize them as I do now. There is stuff I see that I turn over to God in confession. (1 John 1:9)

There is no excuse for sin. I found this out when I heard the gospel preached in the context of the Law of God. My heart awakened to my need for a savior as God's wrath awaited me if I did not repent. Mere lip service will not do. Only a changed heart is acceptable. It is this change of heart that allows me to live in accordance with God's will. Like the Prodigal Son, I came to myself. I came home.

Living the life of repentance is walking by the Light of Christ. (1 John 1:5-7) While I loathe my sins, I rejoice that Jesus died for me so that I may have eternal fellowship with Him. After all, He loathes my sins as well. And being in agreement with God I would say is reconcilaition to The Almighty!

Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. (1 Cor. 6:19-20)