We have a problem. We like to be our own Punisher.
We like paying for our sins. Somehow, it makes us feel responsible adults. But in the process, we damage our life.
How do we punish our self? Subconsciously, we sabotage our success. We make wrong decisions, or get into wrong relationships, or get stuck in wrong habits—as a way of punishment for sins we think will never be forgiven.
This is more common than you think. I meet so many persons behaving this way.
We don’t need the Devil to beat us up—we beat ourself to pulp.
We Get What We Think We Deserve
One day, I was talking to a lovely young woman. She had the beauty you see in advertisements. If you saw her, you’d think she just walked off a billboard. But beneath the outer beauty, I sensed something ugly. As we talked, she confessed how she got involved with the most horrible men possible. She attracted monsters. Total jerks who were adulterous, abusive, and addicted.
As she told her very sad story, I wanted to ask, “Girl, why are you punishing yourself? Why are you picking up a stone and hitting yourself on the head?”
At the end, the truth came out: She talked about mistakes she did a long time ago and it was obvious that she couldn’t forgive herself. It didn’t help that she had parents who liked focusing on her wrongdoings. Deep down, she felt unworthy of having a happy life. That she didn’t deserve it.
Truth: We don’t get what we deserve. We get what we think we deserve.
Let me illustrate this in a caricature: Let’s say there are two suitors in front of this woman. One is decent and diligent and disciplined. The guy has a bright future. He is kind, responsible, and faithful.
The other suitor is a vampire. He is volatile and violent and has many vices too. Guess what?
She chooses the vampire. Her family is up in arms. They say, “Are you out of your mind?”
In one sense, she is. She is operating on autopilot. Subconsciously, she is punishing herself for her past sins.
It’s insane how we become our own Judge, Jury, and Executioner.
Bottom line, it’s all pride. We think our sin is no match to God’s Love.
Here’s another thing that happens when we don’t forgive ourself: We also have a difficult time forgiving others. (More on this next week, so stay tuned to our Soul Food newsletter!)
May your dreams come true,