Love Yourself First?

Lack of self of esteem is no grounds for justifying suicide.

We assume the stewardship of our bodies and our life, as we mature from children into adults.

Out of necessity we love our life and our bodies

This is natural, for if we did not love ourselves, we would fail to protect our own life.

There is this primitive and fundamental principle of self love in everyone. However we forget this, when we generate the desire to self destruct.

The number one thing that drives us toward suicide is the desire to remove ourselves from difficult, depressing, problems. We instinctively try to avoid, or escape from, any difficulty. This is basic to the nature of self preservation.

Usually people can live with their lack of perfect ness. Most people will live with those longings that create within them the desire for a better situation in life. Most people, are willing to accept their status quo, though they are not satisfied with it. Or will put effort into changing it, as they can, for the better.

There is always a conflict between whom we are and who we would like to be. Everyone would like to be more handsome, more intelligent, liked by more people, more at ease around people, free from debt, and worry and the like.

All of us suffer from some depression. This is normal. Usually this is balanced out with our good days. Some people have good reason to feel depressed and yet they do not act as if they have any problems. There are others who seem to have no real problems, yet they seem on the verge of chronic depression.

Often depression comes to us because we like to worry with negative things. It is challenging when someone projects a negative attitude toward us, or says something out of the way to us. We do not consider our worrying as brought on by a challenge. Still, we go about our life with it on our mind. We contemplate or dream about the what Ifs. What if I had said this, or what if I do such and such. We make plans or live the incident repeatedly in our mind. It is natural for us to be challenged by many things. This is one area where our inclination to pick up on a challenge leads us astray. Pride is too often the motivation behind this challenge, for, we do not want to be put down.

Because of our preoccupation with self we become over sensitive about the way things are said to us.

Or we become overly concerned about our position, such as the respect we think we should be getting, but don't. Out of situations like this we can generate a nonsensical form of depression. Nonsensical, yet real. It can become so morbid that it becomes a form of self-destruction.

This nonsensical depression is usually limited to the chronic pity party stage. However, these imagined problems can produce a depression that can drive an individual to the point of taking their own life.

The person who has reached this point will often say that they hate themselves. This is because they cannot stand being in such a despicable position or frame of mind. They cannot see a way out of their continuing disappointing, oppressive feelings or situations. They may not be aware of it, but they do love themselves. They are so protective of their feelings that they are willing to do anything to escape from their problems.

The notes left by victims of suicide often speak of ending it all; this reveals that they are trying to get away from something.

If someone truly hated themselves, they would be looking for ways to prolong their misery and compound it. They would want to keep on living, so they could increase their misery, not end it.

But those who contemplate suicide do not want to prolong their misery: which is proof that they do love themselves - so much, so that they are seeking a terrible means of escape.

From the position of the Judaic Christian ethic this will, as a rule, put them into eternal hell. There are few exceptions.

If there is much pride in your heart, it will produce a driving desire to escape from your embarrassing position or condition.

You actually hate your position or condition, not yourself. You have so much pride that you cannot stand what you are or where you are.

Pride can make life unbearable, both for your self and, for those around you.

It is very humbling to take stock of whom you are, or where you are in life.

You may love yourself so much that you are willing to kill yourself as a way to get away from your embarrassment and discomfort.

You may not have any good feelings about yourself and you may feel as if you do hate yourself. Nevertheless, you are acting out a form of perverted self love.

Again, if you really did hate yourself, you would relish prolonging your suffering, and fight to live, so that you could punish yourself more.

There are many acts of perverted self love, such as drug addiction, eating improperly. Or doing anything that gives temporary satisfaction, to a base, over active desire. All of them have their rewards.

Too often we undermine our spiritual, physical, and mental health through these acts of undisciplined self-love. There is the danger of developing an addiction to depression producing negatives. This will happen if we allow ourselves to become over sensitive about anything that is negative about our person. Or too negative about any other negatives that are around us or directed toward us.

Our physical person is subject to simple avoidable maladies. Simple, yet theses things can kill us.

One is brought on by just drinking too much water. Yes, you can actually become addicted to drinking too much water. Through an obsession, individuals have come to the place of continual unquenchable thirst. They may have tried a weight loss diet which proscribed drinking much water. Or they might have thought they were having trouble with their kidneys and so started drinking much water. At some point they reached their limit and went beyond it. Their system built up such an excess of water that it started washing out needed nutrients and mineral salts, through their urine. They began to feel tired and developed a craving for salt. They increased their salt intake and this made them more thirsty. Eventually their brain swelled because of the excess fluid and they died.

This is a rare problem, yet it does happen. People can easily reverse this, if they will just discipline themselves and reduce the amount of water they drink. It is so simple and yet it can be so deadly. Some of these people were told, by their doctor, what was happening. Still they still kept on over drinking, until they died.

Depression is also a very simple problem. Still, -

Suicide kills 20,000 white middle aged males every year.  In Bakersfield CA we lose, one person per week, on an average.

Depression also aggravates our nervous system and increases our chances of having cancer and heart disease.

Negative thoughts are not killers, when we maintain a proper perspective. We can easily reverse their deadly effects and keep them in check.

God has given us an outline and a proper perspective of ourselves in the Ten Commandments. If we follow them, they will prevent us from afflicting ourselves with perverted self love. When we love God as we should, we are bound by our love of Him to love his gifts to us.

The first of which is our life here on earth. As a result, we will respect our lives and our bodies as he has taught us.

Our life is a tool that God has given us. We are to use it, here on earth, to show our love for him and our love for others. We must take care of our bodies and our lives in context with these principles.

Some refer to the human body as an earth suit. They are our responsibility to maintain and treat with respect. They're a gift, from God. We have nothing to be proud of; for they were given to us. There is nothing that we can do to earn them or make any acceptable payment for them. They were given to us because of his love and nothing else. Because of this, there are no sensible reasons for perverted pride in self?

We can have self confidence and feel good about our accomplishments; however, we are to be appreciative of God for giving us our abilities. Some people have a great amount of natural beauty while others are not so handsome. They were born this way. There is no just reason for handsome people to have pride in their good looks; for they had little, if anything to do with it. Yes, we can love ourselves. This is because we are a gift to ourselves. But to think we are something beyond this is out of context with the scriptures.

Pride and thankfulness are different. They are not the same thing.

If we try to build ourselves up on any basis other then Grace, we are partakers of the first sin.

Satan had this sinful pride. He looked at himself and thought that he had a reason to be proud. He thought that he was someone within himself; separate and apart from the goodness of God.

You might say that Satan thought that he was giving God the ultimate compliment. For, if he, Satan, was greater then God, then God had created a being even superior to himself.

This can be seen in the spirit that is portrayed when Christians brag about being the King's kid. This was said in another time with a lesser name, "We be Abraham's children." They forgot that God can turn a common rock into one of his (Abraham's), children.

Often when we refer to being a child of the King, our position with God is the subject. We use this to point out and emphasize the great blessings that we have because of this position. This thought is true in a sense. But if we are not to use that position as a basis for the freedom to sin and to be free from the normal results of our sins. If we are, we will be judged by God for having an evil heart. Also if we are referring to that position and using it as a basis to justify the gaining of personal wealth or position we will be judged.

It is dangerous to over emphasize the material blessings that will come through faith to the Christian. This is because all people are blessed materially by God. It rains on the just and the unjust. God provides for all of His creatures, Christian or not. To justify and claim material blessing based on our position with God is to be covetous. This is the same basis that those in the time of Christ used to get around the laws of God. They used their traditions as a substitute for the laws of God. They over emphasized their material blessings and position. Which they felt came to them because of their heritage. Also they were conveniently tailoring the law so that it did not effectively promote practical Holiness. Spiritual pride was involved when they said "We be the children of Abraham." They were using this inherited relationship as a lever to earn a place before men and God.

If we are thankful to God for the privilege of being called his child that is one thing. But if we are bragging as if we are responsible for that position and as if we are somebody to be reckoned with because of it. Then, watch out!

This is spiritual pride.

We tend to be possessive of our rights, or defensive. Yet, a Christian has no rights. Their rights have been superseded by Gods rights.

It is the will of God for some to suffer and to die prematurely. Some will never marry. We belong to him. We are his slaves. His will is our will. His pleasure  is our pleasure. We are to have no vengeance of our own. He takes care of vengeance without our help. This is not to say that we are excluded from the governmental processes around us.

But we could be, and many Christians have been.

Normal human rights are not always guaranteed to a Christian. (Neither is our faith or repentance, guaranteed, for both of them are limited by our choice.)

It is not who we are, but it is who He is.

It is not what he has made us into through the new birth, but it is, again, who He is.

The Apostle Paul said that he was the least of all saints. Job a perfect man said that even if he was righteous he would not lift his head. The Angels when dealing with Satan say, "The Lord rebuke you. "Moses repeatedly told the people, when they were against him, they were going against God; still, he did not take any credit for himself.

We can do all things through Christ, but it is always for his glory, not ours. (Remember that in this text Paul was speaking of suffering.)

We are never to praise ourselves. But we are to be in a position where others can honestly praise us, while giving the glory to God. When we enter a room, or hall, we are not to choose the highest seat; the position saved for the most respected. Rather, we are to choose the place reserved for the least distinguished guest.

As Paul said, "In me is no good thing," that is in this realm of flesh. God in referring to Jacob, called him a worm.

There are a few scriptures that can be taken to imply that we are to be concerned with our lack of esteem, or try to improve it. However, there are many more scriptures that are straight forward in teaching, that pride in self is a most terrible sin. We are to abase ourselves concerning our own efforts to please God, and about any efforts that we might try to make, to save ourselves. We are to think of our obedience as coming from a very unprofitable servant. The reason being, any efforts that we might make are very insignificant compared with what God has invested in us. We are unworthy to be his servants, let alone be his children. We all have sinned, and are on the basis of justice condemned before him. It is only on the basis of his sacrifice that we are justified through faith.

Pride was the first sin and God hates it.

We have nothing to lose when we humble ourselves before God and man. However, we are in danger of losing everything when we try to build up our self esteem.

 

True self esteem, in its best Christian sense, comes through serving God by serving others, putting them first.

We are to recognize that whatever we do, to or, for the least of our people we are doing it, in a sense, to and for God.

We have a carnal tendency to turn our efforts toward ourselves or toward those that are able, in some way, to reciprocate, or pay us back.

Depression, (or discouragement), may still plague us on occasion. (Yes, the Christian.)

However, if we will discipline ourselves into visiting and serving the weakest the most hurt and the most confused of people we will find that it, (depression), cannot stay.

When we expose ourselves to those who are more unfortunate then we are, we see more clearly, just how we are blessed. There are others who are hurting far more than we are and yet they are smiling and reaching out to other people with a positive attitude. If we find a person like this, it can have a very healing effect on our depression and there are some in most every rest home.

The Apostle Paul spoke of having a continual sorrow in the flesh, because he was hurting over his unsaved kinsmen. We too can hurt or travail over others that are not saved and we should be doing so. Jesus looked forward to the cross with joy and we take up our cross and follow him when we serve others.

The protection and peace of God come as we obey him and bow ourselves before him in true humility.

Jesus took a towel and a basin and washed the disciples' feet. He taught that those that would be great in his kingdom were to be the servants. They were not to do as the rulers and leaders of this world. If you find that you are having problems with depression there is an answer. Or if you are in bondage to pride or to those that promote it, turn to that lowly Shepherd the Carpenters Son. He will forgive and save. For He is our God and He is our peace.

I have had many personal experiences with depression. I lost my first wife and my three children through a car accident. My mother was in and out of mental institutions from the time I was nine until she passed away. My youngest Brother and my Father both committed suicide. I was an active member of a Church, for several years, where the congregation was split on two different occasions. At one time I found that a close preacher friend of mine (who had a wife and two children), was molesting an under age girl. I had to stand up as a witness against him and turn him into the law. (I will not tell you how leadership approached this situation, nor what they said should be done.)

I became active in church when I was ten. That first pastor (father), was prosecuted for molesting boys. I have been in numbers of meetings where a pastor or an evangelist was later found to have been fornicating, homosexual or incestuous. These things have no business in a church.

God help any leader who knows of a problem like this and does not expose it. Numbers of families have been torn apart because of the poor examples set by their leaders.

There have been several other extreme negative circumstances that I won't mention here. However, none of these were my biggest problem. It was the nonsensical imagined problems, my disobedience and my lack of repentance, which caused my depression. Yes, Satan and my stupidity gives me trouble. However, just like Eve, I have found that pride is my worst enemy. When I rejoice in the Lord whether I feel like it or not and when I repent and do his will, depression goes.

 

Vern Manson 2-9-91 / 7-10-92 / 7-9-00

 

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