I don’t feel so good

Who is the harshest judge in your life?  If you are like most of us, your harshest critic is you.  You know your secrets and what you hide from others.  You know your fears and your unfulfilled goals and your lusts.  You know the things that drive you from inside and you often don’t like them.  Better than your mother or your spouse or your boss, you know your failings.

So you judge yourself.

I heard a man say that he was raised in such a way that he viewed any criticism as someone else’s problem.  He said his mother taught him to think that way.  So if his boss came to him with an issue, he immediately assumed the boss had a problem.  Most of us are just the opposite.  We see the boss coming and assume we did something wrong.  We hear a general criticism of our group and take it personally.  We are quick to accept negative judgment because we know the “truth” about ourselves.

So when someone comes along and says that we are saints and not sinners; that’s hard to accept.  We just don’t feel good enough to be saints.  We feel like sinners.  We look inside and see all the urges and compromises and hypocrisy and weaknesses and we tell ourselves that we can’t really be what Jesus says we are.

But we can be what we are.

Now, I am not suggesting that we become insensitive to the input of others or ignorant of our own weaknesses.  Instead, I am suggesting that we learn to look at ourselves as what we are, rather than as what we do.  If we do that, we start from a different place.  Instead of starting from the negative, we start from the positive.  Instead of feeling defeated before we start, we can feel energized and hopeful.  And, when we fail again, maybe we can remember that failing doesn’t make us failures.  In fact, we pick ourselves up with the knowledge that what we just did was inconsistent with who we are and we want to be who we are.

We would be able to dismiss the criticisms that come from others much easier if we didn’t condemn ourselves.  What really gets us is when someone gets on our case about something we already feel bad about.  Think about this.  If someone rips on something you feel good about, you wonder what’s wrong with them.  You might get angry and you might feel rejected, but you walk away believing that the problem is theirs.  If you already believe that you are a failure, and someone points out something you did that failed, you bring it into your heart and it reinforces what you already think.

Paul understood this.  He put it all in context in just a few words in 1st Corinthians 4:

3 But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by a human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself.

Because Paul does not judge himself, he is not concerned with the judgments of others.  Now, how does he manage this?  He goes on:

4 For I know nothing against myself, yet I am not justified by this; but He who judges me is the Lord.

“He who judges me is the Lord.”  Paul looked to see what Jesus said about him and lived there.  If Jesus said Paul was a saint, fully forgiven and filled with the righteousness of Christ, then it was true.  If Jesus said that Paul had been washed from the stain of sin and that failures would not be added to his account with God, then it was true.  That’s how Paul viewed his life and that’s how he was able to keep going in the face of serious opposition.

You and I don’t feel good, because we were trained not to feel good.  We were told that our weaknesses and failures defined us.  It was done to keep us in control and because those who trained us knew nothing else for themselves.  It was done because someone believed that a negative view of ourselves would help us to stay away from sin.  It didn’t work because it was a lie.

The truth not only feels much better but it works.  If we rise in the morning believing that we are saved and forgiven and free, then we are much more likely to carry that perspective into our day and into the situations that challenge us.

Winners win.

3 Comments

Filed under Freedom, grace, Legalism

3 responses to “I don’t feel so good

  1. Annie

    I really like this David…. it was very helpful for me. The last paragraph “If we rise in the morning ……..” . This even answers my concerns about the offender. What I understand about the Narcissist, and especially the one who says he/she is a Christian……as well as your previous comments about ‘salvation’ of my ex Narc… Makes more sense now. I do wake up knowing who I am in Christ, even when I’m feeling low, Holy Spirit has a knack of reminding me and bringing me back. Sometimes God uses others to bring us back to that place. For the Narc….. its sad…. he wakes up with that terrible sense of sadness and low self worth ….and then has to quickly play the game and get into acting mode. It is then from within himself, rather than Jesus living in Him. It is also about NOT deliberately setting out to “get at someone because he/she thinks its their right”. A Christian who walks in Him gets a jolt from Holy Spirit when we do something silly/wrong and we are more likely to right the wrong in prayer and in kind, asking for strength to do so. The Narc on the other side…. won’t recognise the wrong and definitely won’t believe they have to change it. It must be a terrible way to wake up in the morning. I know when I wake up a friend or my children OR even this website, are there to give me words of encouragement which is God given. Thank you so much for the effort you put into making things better for us and helping us to understand the difficulties we face after these terrible hurts by someone we love/loved and gave our all too. It is especially difficult when the we give our intimate selves to that person and we know he is out there using it against us to make him look good and not caring or even thinking about the fallout he/she leaves behind. Bless you David. Keep up the good work to help us heal for it is a long long road. Just as you think you are there a huge trigger happens and away you go again. I’ve never been in this place before and my heart breaks for all the women who have had to endure this level of trauma and pain from the one they loved.

  2. Penny

    You have given “comfort to the weary” today.
    After reading this, I was drawn to Revelations 12:10,11:
    “Then I heard a loud voice in heaven saying, “The salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the ruling authority of his Christ, have now come, because the accuser of our brothers and sisters, the one who accuses them day and night before our God, has been thrown down.
    11 But they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives so much that they were afraid to die.” The Enemy is our accuser, but I was stunned to read “they did not love their lives so much”–it seems to me the N loves their life ( &/ or the illusion of it) while those who live as forgiven and whole are truly free NOT to “love our lives so much”, but to die to self & choose to love Him who has healed our hearts & stands ready to defend us. I need a reminder that Jesus intercedes for us against our own accusers of the brethren. Jesus wants us to embrace forgiveness and release fear. Thank you for a beautifully written truth.

  3. Suzanne

    These posts on identity have been very helpful. I have been glad to learn that Jesus takes away all my sin and guilt and gives me His righteousness, but I have been wondering how to get rid of the shame that I feel from things that have been done and said to me. I have tried confessing it away, but it doesn’t work. Now I understand that Jesus didn’t just die for my sins but to give me a new Identity as well, His identity. I am no longer what I do or what has been done to me. I am His. This makes the shame go away. I wonder how much of the time I am confessing things that don’t need confessing. I think I already have from God what I have been trying to get!

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