- Two seconds after the comment slips through your lips...
- That moment when you realize you've locked your keys in the car...with the baby...
- Your ATM card has just sailed across the floor and down through the grate...
- You've already blown your character-trait-for-the-day practice and it's not even breakfast
Why did I do that?
Why didn't I listen?
How could I?
Most of us are very good at berating ourselves. We are our own worst critics. Our expectations for ourselves can be much higher than anyone else's expectations of us and when we fail to reach that impossible standard, we feel shame.
People who live under an umbrella of shame tend to take it out on the world around them. I may feel shame that I did something stupid, but you'd better look out! The next move you make will be my chance to make myself feel better.
What if we learned to forgive ourselves the same way we know we are to forgive others?
Does that sound like feel-good psychology?
It's the truth.
I John 3:20 encourages us with these words: If your heart condemns you, God is greater than your heart and knows all things.
In other words, stop being so hard on yourself. God isn't. Your willful sin has to go. Your selfish choices, addictions, and evil behavior are non-negotiables. God hates it more than you do.
But the millions of little foibles that plague every member of the human race don't count against you. The "uh-oh's" and "oopses" that make up our lives don't have to go on our Low Self-Worth list. You won't find them on God's list anywhere.
OK, so you went through the drivethru backward,
so your skirt was tucked into your pantyhose all afternoon,
so you're overdrawn at the bank,
and you accidentally texted your pastor a steamy message meant for your spouse.
But when the barrage of self-berating words bubble to your lips, stop. Ask yourself: Would I say this to someone else? Would I call my friend a stupid idiotic loser because she straightened her boss's tie before realizing what she was doing?
Would I call my co-worker a no-good jerk because he led a meeting with spinach between his front teeth?
Why do we believe it's acceptable to treat ourselves with less respect than we treat everyone else? Each of us is a valuable person, created by God just the way He wanted us.
That's why he reminds us that our hearts can't always be trusted, but He can. Maybe it will help to remember this week that even if your heart condemns you, God is greater than your heart.