The Worst Sin I Know

Don’t forget to love yourself.-Soren Kierkegaard

The most common phrase in the Bible is “Do Not Be Afraid”. It seems to me that God is trying to tell us something to us about our condition. We are deeply afraid. The more I move deeper into my spiritual journey, the more I realize that the journey is as much about loving myself, as it is to loving God. The consequence of sin began a life of shame for us. We became afraid of being who we are and what we are. The greatest commandment tells us to love God, but, then to love our neighbors as ourselves. We cannot love God, or others, until we begin loving ourselves. When we start a fatalistic path in all areas of our lives.

When I deny myself to myself I deny the very life source within myself. When I deny my pain and sorrow, I deny the very wisdom and grace, that allows me to move past it. As Kierkegaard beautifully says “Face the facts of being what you are, for that is what changes what you are.” The sad truth for most of us is that when we deny ourselves the bad in our lives, we also deny the good in our lives. Many of us, myself included, don’t think we’re good enough to have good things. The worst part of all of this is that when we close ourselves off to ourselves, we close ourselves off to the Holy Spirit. For if the Holy Spirit is the one that causes rebirth in our life, then by being closed off to our lives, we close off the very life that the Holy Spirit wants to bring rebirth into.

When I deny myself to God, all I am left with is cheap discipleship. When I deny myself to God I begin praying insincere prayers, I begin participating in false forms of worship. My acts are there to appease God. We begin discipleship to get God off our backs by paying our dues, or, we do acts that are trying to earn his approval (even though we already have). When I deny myself to God, I never actually know God because God is not an idea. God can only be known through our experience of him. Just like we love those most who have been there for us in hard times, God must be known with the same intimacy and vulnerability that we have with others. If God is not known this way, we cannot begin experiencing true change because God cannot find his way into us.

When I deny myself to others, I am truly incapable of experiencing change. Part of changing as a human being means identifying what you are experiencing, being able to speak it, and being able to find what you need to change it. When we deny ourselves to others, we become chronic people pleasers. We give them everything they ask for, and, end up giving so much of ourselves away that we become exhausted and resentful towards them. When we deny ourselves to others, we have a false intimacy which is built on lies, even if we fear that they would leave us because of our secrets. When we deny ourselves to others, we deny the very thing that also makes them human, the ability to know others humanely. Lastly, when we block off our lives to others, we also deny God the opportunity to spill out of us through the Holy Spirit. If the Holy Spirit is the live and vitality of who we are, then closing ourselves off to others, means closing off that life and vitality to them.

So my hope is today that we may not fear ourselves. That we may not hide, like Adam and Eve did. My hope is that we may love and accept ourselves, just as God does. When we do this we begin opening ourselves to God, others and our purpose in life. When we open up our lives, we may be surprised by the death that might be there but we will also have the great shock of the life that is awaiting us. Don’t fear being yourself, it is enough. Living a lie, is the greatest sin I know.

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10 thoughts on “The Worst Sin I Know

  1. jenny says:

    Im sitting in starbucks, reading this and crying.

    Awesome post that resonates deeply for me. I needed this more than you know.

  2. Chuck McKnight says:

    “But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people” (2 Timothy 3:1–5, ESV).

    Those who love themselves are put first on a long list of horrible attributes that describe people who are to be avoided. Furthermore, we know that “no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it” (Ephesians 5:29).

    We are commanded to deny ourselves. “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me” (Matthew 16:24, also in Luke 9:23 and Mark 8:34).

    “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).

  3. Great post Mike. Very true. I love that quote from Kierkegaard.

  4. Kurt Willems says:

    This was deep bro. Fear is an issue we all need to “name” and move past into freedom. Thanks!

  5. phil wood says:

    Mike, thankyou for this excellent heartfelt post Truthfully, I struggle with anxiety for a good deal of the time. When I’m depressed that can be extreme. I have been thinking recently about introversion. I’m an introvert (nothing wrong with that), but as I touch on this post (http://radref.blogspot.com/search/label/introversion), fear is an issue. Shalom, phil

  6. Rachel says:

    Great post sounds like some of us are on the same thread today. As far as all the scripture in a comment above about the denying of self, when we accept ourselves in the light of Christ and deny ourselves in the false image of the World we pick up our cross and follow Him.

  7. Lance Gutteridge says:

    I think as usual I’d fall someplace between the first response and the second. Wow what a great blog shot. Still not totally sold on ol SK but he wouldn’t have been sold on me either and he was really smart! Ha! So much garbage I have to wade through to get to the me God loves. I think!

  8. Darcy Pratt says:

    Great piece! It is impossible to truly live God & others, when there is no love for yourself. We can’t give something away that we do not have to begin with.
    Thanks. Mike!

  9. […] Don't forget to love yourself.-Soren Kierkegaard The most common phrase in the Bible is "Do Not Be Afraid". It seems to me that God is trying to tell us something to us about our condition. We are deeply afraid. The more I move deeper into my spiritual journey, the more I realize that the journey is as much about loving myself, as it is to loving God. The consequence of sin began a life of shame for us. We became afraid of being who we are and wh … Read More […]

  10. LOV says:

    Great post! Self-acceptance is the key to changing yourself. I’m also working on that area of my life right now. Do u know of any quotes that help build his Self-love/trust/acceptance?

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