|~ A view of my back yard ~|
Can’t love yourself. Although most churches outwardly preach that it is good to love yourself, some fundamental churches warn that practicing self love is a dangerous road to go down. It is dangerous because it can lead to thinking too highly of yourself. For this reason, it is better to not focus too much on self love.
This could cause some problems in your life, especially if you want to be able to enjoy feeling good about yourself on a regular basis.
It’s too bad that God and his love isn’t intrinsic and innate inside of us, always available and on tap. Instead of being outside of us, elusive, and sporadic.
It is frustrating, being temporarily unable to connect to this source outside of you. You never know how long the dry stretch will last, where you feel out of communion. You have to actively commit to Bible reading, prayer, fellowship, worship, study, sin prevention and repentance. But even then, this doesn’t always guarantee that you will feel close to God again. Sometime he “hides his face” for “mysterious reasons” and you don’t know when you will be in communion again.
Can’t love others. When you don’t love yourself, you can’t love others. No matter how hard you try. This makes friendships and relationships tough.
Out of touch with yourself and cut off from yourself. You aren’t allowed to trust your heart, emotions, or intuition. These are grey areas that the devil resides in. “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked.” (Jeremiah 17:9) As such, this cuts you off from yourself. This is draining and depressing, and actually alienates you from your Creator more than it puts you in harmony with him/her/the universe.
Feminine qualities deemed evil or lesser than. Not trusting your heart and intuition doesn’t bode well for the female Christian population, as females are well springs of emotion and natural experts in the heart and intuitive matters. This can lead to male suppression of these female tendencies, cutting females out of matters of decision making and leadership, and unequal rights for women. On the far end of the spectrum, it can sometimes lead to Biblical male superiority, patriarchy, and religious abuse.
OK to judge and hate in God’s name. You believe in a right and wrong, and believe that it is OK to judge what God says is wrong. God gives you a right and wrong, and allows you to destroy, fight against, and judge what is evil. This attitude creates division, not peace. This creates boundaries instead of unity. This divides people by race, by religion, by moral standing. This attitude is what allowed the Crusades and Holy Wars to occur; Christians killed others in the name of God. This is what the white man did in the name of God to the Native Americans. This is the same attitude that encourages Christians to hate on Muslims, to hate on gays, to hate on prostitutes, to bomb abortion clinics.
Depression and self hatred. You believe that at the core, you are just a sinner, saved by Grace. This promotes a “whoa is me” attitude, a false humility, a lowered sense of self, a depressed nature, and a looser mentality. This might also lead to self hatred, even if it is only on a subconscious level. With an attitude like this, you attract and often unknowingly create for yourself negative life situations that match the vibration of your attitude. I have sat in many church sermons where poverty and lack are extolled. I have lived over 30 years of my life in a depressed state, and didn’t know why. It’s when I let go of my Christian beliefs that the shroud lifted and I rose to my natural level of innate joy.
Stuck in fight or flight mode. As a Christian, the need to continually examine yourself for any trace of sin could put a conscientious person in fight or flight. And what would this mean for a person who tended towards perfectionism? Well, as a highly conscientious person and a perfectionist, I went into fight or flight and lived in a state of fear for many decades in large part because I was very careful and hyper-vigilant in monitoring my checklist of sins committed, my list of sins I had asked forgiveness for, the list of sins I was about to commit again, and my ever changing strategies to achieve and maintain remaining in sin prevention mode. Trust me, if I do sin prevention, awareness and repentance, I do it right. I was bound and determined to keep my heart and conscience clear, no matter what it took. Needless to say, with all this fear and worry, I went into fight or flight mode when I was 5, and my adrenals have not been happy campers for oh, quite some time. Until recently when I realized there is no judgment, no “sin” in me, and there never was.
Separate from others, alone. As Christians, it is dangerous to associate with non-Believers as they may lead you into temptation, especially if you don’t feel strong in the faith, or strong on that particular day. Christians are led to a life of separation, and are encouraged to mingle with those in the same faith, except for the purpose of evangelising. When this belief becomes legalistic, which if often does out of fear and a need to protect oneself from sin at all costs, the Believer sees himself or herself as separate from others. Sometimes out of zealousness, a Christian will even start to restrict himself even from other non-Believers who aren’t strong in the faith. This belief in separation also sometimes leads to a tendency to not want to even help non-Christians when they are in need, as well as hating that non-Believer in the name of God when that person needs help.
- Argumentative. Christians feel that it is Godly to be obnoxious and argumentative for Christ, and that if an evangelising attempt doesn’t stir up someone’s dander, then the witnessing isn’t up to par. Christians use verses like Matthew 10:34-36. “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man’s enemies will be the members of his household.”
Frustration and anger, feeling trapped. The knowledge that you are incapable of not sinning for the rest of your life, no matter how hard you try can be a recipe for frustration and anger. It was for me. Sinning wouldn’t be so awful if there wasn’t a threat of punishment after the sin, but as that threat was there and it would be for the rest of my life, no matter what, this honestly made me depressed. I also did hate myself deeply on a daily basis, and even considered it quite the Godly thing to do, in loathing my mortal body and it’s continual moral failings. Yes, I was very depressed, but didn’t even know it. How can you admit you are depressed as a Christian when there is no alternative to Christianity out there, no alternative that includes a sin-less state. You can’t question the only ‘right’ religion there is out there, unless of course you were brave enough to face God’s wrath.
My natural self is sinless.
Guilt and shame. These just come along with the Christian life, although they are more inherent in fundamental circles. The basic belief is that you are a sinner at your core, which God hates. So you have to work yourself up into a guilty lather, to loathe the sin so much that you are shamed into not doing it anymore. Sometimes pastors use love to motivate you to stop sinning, but more often than not, they use guilt and shame. And this guilt and shame is considered Godly and healthy. A necessary aspect of the Christian walk.
I don’t have to change myself.
Fearful. When you believe that you are a sinner, you also believe that you truly don’t deserve good. You only get grace, which is undeserved merit. You know that on some level, you deserve judgment for the sins you still will commit. Some Christians feel that blessings in their life are rewards due to perseverance in the faith, as well as keeping a lead foot on the brakes in the sin department. This belief makes life a chore, as you are afraid constantly of sinning because you fear punishment and a withholding of blessings. I was always on the lookout when something bad happened in my life, like a flat tire, a hairline fracture in my car windshield, or a headache. I always backtracked to see what sin I had forgotten to ask forgiveness for or was currently still committing. I would continually ask forgiveness so that I would have a clean slate free punishment and judgment. This constant need to look over the shoulder for sins on the horizon promotes fear. Fear is the underlying cause of most illness and disease.
No one’s out to get me.
Powerless. You can’t do anything to get out of the cycle of sinning. You also can’t trust your inner self, which makes you feel less in control. You have to consult a source outside of yourself, the Bible, a pastor, a Christian friend, a Christian friend, a Christian book, and sermon. You don’t have the authority or power to consult yourself, since your heart and emotions are not accurate compasses. The heart is deceitfully wicked, above all things.
Everything I need has always
Depressed. Once you invite God into your life, he is only there to the degree that you work hard enough to keep him there. Once God came in your life, if you didn’t try every day, every minute, he would leave like air escaping out of a balloon. Your life is a constant God leak, with the rate of air escaping to the degree you allowed yourself to sin, and to the degree you kept up with repentance. And since sinning was your normal, innate way of being, you could look forward to a lifetime of sinning, and a lifetime of hard, diligent work replenishing that God air that was always escaping. Talk about an exercise in futility.
Exhausted. You can’t just coast along in the Christian life. It’s a fight, a constant battle against evil. You have to be active and alert, for the evil one prowls about, seeking whom he might devour. You have to actively read your Bible, pray, attend church, fellowship, keep sin out of your life, and ask repentance regularly for the sins you did commit. It’s like your faith is a balloon with a constant leak due to your sinful nature, but you have to keep on filling this leaking balloon with the air of your own actions to stay Godly. I don’t know about you, but constantly blowing up a leaky balloon for the rest of your life is exhausting.
I am perfect just as I am.
My problem was that although I physically escaped the cult by leaving home, I actually still believed the teachings in my head. Once I was out in the world, I was looking over my shoulder and worrying about my health and well-being constantly. I was alone with no family to have my back, and knew my health was everything.
I knew I would never force myself to go back under cult authority, and because I made this choice, I knew I would have to take punishment from God for the rest of my life. For years on end, I braced myself for punishment.
When I shared that it made me literally sick to get in a car and visit my father, the pastor chided me that I was holding on to unforgiveness. He said that a victorious Christian could stand in the presence of their abuser with no problem, and that if I wasn’t there yet, then I was still sinning and holding on to unforgiveness. So, for a year more I tried to force myself to ignore the panic attacks, nausea and weakness that popped up every time I attempted a visit. Until eventually I got so sick that I wasn’t able to even leave my house for a year and a half, and I laid on a couch or bed, too ill to move.
presence so he can abuse you more.
point that you won’t give that person an
opportunity to hurt you more.
I spent the first several years of the illness contemplating religion and spirituality. Eventually, I let myself became honest enough to admit that I was exhausted with the negativity I felt listening to these Christian pastors and friends. The hell that Christians are afraid of, the simple burning of the flesh began to sound tame to me after experiencing the various physical and psychological sides of the illness, as well as the cruelty, shunning, and mental torment from being turned down by churches, ministries, family and friends when I asked for for help. I was living hell on earth, and the Biblical hell suddenly dimmed in comparison. I lost my fear of that hell. Without fear of hell, I didn’t fear punishment. Without punishment, sin has no meaning.
So I started questioning the Christian faith, and after a year or so of questioning, I decided that my old beliefs didn’t serve me anymore. So I let them go.