STOP HATING YOURSELF !
From the Advisory Pastor
Dear Members in Christ,
Stop Hating Yourself !
Proverbs 15:32 “He that refuseth instruction despiseth his own soul: but he that heareth reproof getteth understanding.” [Antithetical Parallelism]
Hating oneself is not a common notion. Most people are self-centered. Therefore, looking after self-interests is usually the norm everywhere one goes. He who hates himself is usually regarded as unwell in the mind and needs treatment. The outward signs of hating oneself are to hurt oneself. There will be cuts on the body. Then there’s starvation of the body or a bulimic disorder that harms the body even to the point of death. Such hatred of oneself is tragic, for the person wastes his life away. He is non-productive. He is unable to care for his family. Very often he even becomes a burden to the people who love him.
How much worse when it comes to the spiritual realm. And when this happens to a child of God it is many times worse because he tarnishes the image of Christ by his sad testimony. Every child of God is blessed with the privilege of bearing a godly witness for his Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, the Son of God! This is an honour He bestowed only to His disciples. He saved them and commanded them to show forth their good works so that God in heaven might be glorified. They must do this faithfully before His soon return. This cannot be accomplished when they hate themselves.
What does it mean to hate oneself? Hating oneself is not defined from a man’s perspective but God’s. Proverbs 15:32 provides us with one of the best definitions.
He is one who refuses instruction – The word “refuse” means “to loosen” or “to dismiss.” He is not ignorant of instruction. Neither is he not exposed to instruction. Instruction has been given to him but he loosens or dismisses it like someone who wipes away some dirty mud that was thrown at him. He is not able to discern that the instruction is good for him as a child of God. The “instruction” refers to “chastisement.” Words of chastisement rebuke the soul. It reveals the sin that is in the soul. Most of us like to think that all is well with our souls. When chastisement comes, it is often resisted and ignored with many excuses, legitimate or otherwise. This is the pride of sinful man being played out repeatedly.
If he is an unbeliever, then the rebuke is to convict him of his sins committed against God so that he can turn to the Saviour for salvation, so that he is sorely wounded in his soul by the truth of the gospel. If he refuses to repent and believe, is he not despising his own soul by desiring instead to send his soul to the Fiery Lake? He can have his sins forgiven and escape such a pain-filled unceasing torment in the Fiery Lake if he heeds to the instruction instead of dismissing the truth. If a child of God who receives the instruction to stop sinning and live a holy life but refuses instruction, then he is also said to despise his own soul. In this instance, it is hating his soul’s holy witness for Christ. The LORD will always love His children even though they despise His instruction to repent and return to Him. Hebrews 12:5-7 “And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: 6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. 7 If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?” Chastisement and repentance when chastised is clear evidence of one’s salvation!
Child of God, stop hating yourself, for the chastisement comes from your loving heavenly “Father of lights with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” He will never give up on you just as He did not give up on His people Israel. Even when Israel was in sin for hundreds of years since entering the Promised Land, the LORD patiently dealt with Israel with much long-suffering. When He finally exiled Israel, it was still a demonstration of His love for Israel. He wanted the Babylonians to remove and destroy all the idols and places of idolatry from the Land of Promise which the Israelites did not have the spiritual strength to do when the LORD sent His prophets to rebuke them. They even persecuted the prophets and put some of them to death. They despised the instruction of the LORD and thus hated their own souls. The LORD brought them back after 70 years of exile to restart their holy witness on a “clean” slate. Israel learned the hard lesson of the sin of idolatry and did not have the Baalim in their homes and did not bow down to them anymore.
He lacks a heart – In contrast, the one who hears reproof is not said by the LORD to “love his own soul” but that he gets understanding. The word “hears” means to listen to the reproof and obey it. He is teachable. The word “reproof” is a different Hebrew word from “instruction” used in the first line of the verse. This word “reproof” is to admonish using words to reason with the transgressor; whereas the word “instruction” is the chastisement itself with stronger emphasis that it is more than just words. In other words, when reasonable words are used to show the sin committed, he will listen and is convicted and will repent immediately and return to the LORD. This was what King David did when Nathan used the parable to show him his sin. David was immediately convicted when it was pointed out that he was the sinner in that parable. There was no need for further threats like what Samuel had to do to king Saul who refused to repent. Saul by his refusal despised his own soul.
The phrase “to get understanding” literally means “to own a heart.” The hearing of reproof reveals the heart of the believer. Firstly, he receives the gospel of salvation in Christ which begins with a deeply convicted realization of his sins against God that he cannot atone for. He mourns for his sin and humbly accepts Christ as his Lord and Saviour. This first reproof gives him a heart of flesh. Future reproofs should also result in the same response of teachability. But the one who despises his own soul by refusing instruction lacks understanding, i.e. a heart.
Food for Thought – Would a child of God hate his own soul by rejecting instruction from the LORD?
Rev Dr Quek SY