Beating yourself up seems to be a hobby for many of the single Christian women I work with.
For others, it's a quiet ritual they feel compelled to engage in every so often to keep themselves from becoming too proud.
There's this quiet, sickening idea that has crept into the minds of countless women around the world that we deserve to be punished.
And if other people aren't doing it to us, we'll do it to ourselves.
So as we make strides around the world to end violence against women, there's also a dark rising tide of women who feel justified in taking the beating sticks to their own emotional, mental and spiritual back whenever their actions are anything less than perfect.
Today I want to make a clear and simple argument to help end the nightmare that many women have created for themselves.
I don't know who needs to hear this right today, but let me say this loud and clear; it's not okay to beat yourself up.
Normally, I like to write to encourage and inspire you.
This is not that kind of post.
This is a wake-up call.
It's not okay to keep beating yourself up in the name of Jesus.
It's got to stop!
The church has adopted this warped idea around crucifying the flesh. I've heard it preached from many pulpits that, as Christians, we must continually crucify the flesh to live for Christ.
That's some terrible teaching that has turned many gentle souls into violent offenders.
Crucify the flesh, deny yourself, and put on the righteousness of Christ.
It all sounds wonderful, but as a Christian woman, have you ever stopped to consider what that means? How do you crucify the flesh?
Listen carefully, if you are a Christian...
...you have already crucified the flesh.
Let's take a look at where in the Bible, this whole idea comes from.
In the book of Galatians, Paul encourages his listeners to walk in the spirit and crucify the flesh.
"So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 1For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.
But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity, and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions, and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.
Galatians 5:16-26 (NIV)
Let me repeat it one more time in case you didn't catch it.
The Bible says...
"Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires."
It's in the past tense.
I can not overemphasize the importance of that sentence.
You have already crucified the flesh by giving your life to Christ.
And guess what.
The flesh does not have resurrection power.
I know that sometimes it feels like you're dealing with a zombie of temptation, but please put down the beating stick and start to show that zombie some love.
Because it's not some dark, scary monster that you're beating up over and over again, it's you!
So let's stop using the name of Jesus as an excuse to beat ourselves up!
There's this weird thing that happens where it kinda feels good to take out all our rage on ourselves.
I should know- I used to be a master tormentor when it comes to self-hate, shame, and beating yourself up.
The reels in my mind would replay all night and I couldn't sleep because I would be going over all my mistakes until early morning.
But as I develop my relationship with God, I have become one of the biggest self-love advocates out there.
I realized that to create the life I want, one that honors God and is full of love and joy, I would have to put down the beating stick.
Why would I want to do that when emotional self-flagellation gives me such a wonderful sense of humility and meekness before God?
How would I know if I'm really repentant unless I punch myself in the emotional kidneys a few times a day when I remember all the awful things I've done in my life; the people I've hurt, the lies I've told, and the gagillion ways in which I've disappointed God?
It's all fake. It's a false sense of humility, and the true God, our Lord Almighty, does not want your trembling before Him like a cowering worm.
That behavior does not bring glory to God, but it sure does make Satan happy.
I know, beating yourself up feels good.
It makes you feel like you have a sense of power and control over yourself and your body. But it's an illusion.
Hating yourself and emotional violence and internal verbal abuse will never keep you away from sin.
In fact, you may have noticed that the temptations you're trying to resist get bigger and stronger.
Here's what really happens.
You experience some kind of urge or temptation, and it feels like you have no control over it. It's an all-consuming impulse that you must obey.
Your brain and body coerce you into believing that you have no choice, and so you give in and indulge in the behavior.
That's when you get hit with a tidal wave of shame and condemnation.
Just as you're starting to relax and enjoy the fact that you're no longer battling with temptation, that wave rises up and smashes you.
Suddenly we are painfully aware of our wretchedness, and we feel very, very far from God.
At this point, many Christian women turn violent.
Not to anyone else, but towards themselves. They beat themselves up with abusive thoughts. They justify the abuse believing that this is how you crucify the flesh. It's what must be done to save our souls.
I want you to see how theologically problematic this is so that this vicious lie no longer has any power over you.
Beating yourself up will not save you from the gates of Hell.
The blood of Jesus is all that is needed, and you've already received it.
By HIS stripes, we are healed.
So please don't add another welt to your back.
After releasing my brand new 3 part mini-series on Self-Love, a course designed as a starting point for single women who want to pursue a Christ-centered marriage, I realized that I need to speak out against this kind of personal abuse that is done in the name of Jesus.
I realize that I am using some very strong language here to describe what's happening internally, and you might be thinking that thoughts like the ones listed below are no big deal.
I should have been stronger... what's wrong with me?... I'm never going to be able to stop this... I can't overcome this... I'm so ashamed... If people knew this about me, my life would be destroyed... I would be so humiliated... I should be over this by now... there's something wrong with me.
If someone else were saying these things to you, we'd call that emotional and verbal abuse because that's what it is.
This is a big deal, and it's not okay.
So let's stop justifying it.
Believe me, if beating yourself up and shame worked to free us from the traps of sin, I'd be all for it.
But, the truth is, it doesn't work.
Despite the internal beating, the sin remains.
The pain and shame don't do any good. And that's why I want to encourage you to STOP BEATING YOURSELF UP.
Let me give you permission to stop crucifying the flesh and start loving yourself.
Now, I know that this might be hard for you to hear.
As a Christian woman, you've probably been taught your whole life that you must give up everything to follow Christ. Deny yourself, pick up your cross, and go.
They say that there's only room for one person on the throne, so you've got to decide, is it going to be you? Or Christ?
Here's a lesson I learned the hard way.
The Bible tells me:
"God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have eternal life."John 3:16
So explain this; If God loves me, why do I have to hate myself?
Think about this with me; If God loves and I am supposed to love what God loves and others and hate what God hates, why am I beating myself up?
Do you know what God hates?
God hates sin.
Guess what, YOU are not sin.
Sin is an action, and you are not an action.
You're a wonderful human creature created by God.
And He loves you. You are loveable.
The essence of who you are is not found in your actions.
It's inherent in who you are as His child.
God loves you because you are His creation.
And that's all there is to it.
God doesn't hate you, and He's not disappointed either.
He hates sin. But, there's an important difference between who you are and what you do. He overcame sin by the blood of the lamb. And, He did it so that He can freely love you.
So why are we still destroying ourselves?
Hate has no power over sin.
I've said it before, and I'll say it again...
...You can't hate yourself enough to overcome any sin or temptation.
You can't hate yourself enough to do the will of God and be good.
But LOVE... love has power.
"There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. "1 John 4:18
So my dear friend,
I hope you'll reconsider the way you're trying to deal with the sin and temptation in your life.
Loving yourself does not mean that you're accepting sin.
It means that recognizing that Jesus's sacrifice on the cross was sufficient to take away the wrath of God.
I know that you feel terribly aware of your sin. It's nice to know that God can forget about your sins and move on, but you're not there yet.
All you can see is how filthy you and wretched you are. It's painfully obvious to you, but here's the truth, that way of seeing yourself in nothing but a twisted illusion—a lie of the enemy.
I hope you’ve found this useful. If so, please share it on your favorite platform.
My goal is to help you enjoy a healthy, thriving relationship with God so that you can love yourself.
Ultimately I want to empower single Christian women to pursue their God-given desire for marriage with confidence. That's why I am so passionate about ending the cycles of abuse that we get stuck in and advocating for self-love.
Self-love can help you overcome sin and temptation and get to know God as He really is, good, loving, patient, and kind.
If you're a single lady and struggling in this area, I want you to check out my FREE Course on Self-Love. I know you'll find it incredibly helpful when it comes to seeing yourself the way God sees you and making a plan to move towards a lasting relationship with an equally-yoked partner.
And I have a few questions for you…
Leave a comment below and let me know.
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