Self-Contempt meets Surrender and Grace

Self-contempt, if you have read the chapter in The Wounded Heart by Dr. Dan B. Allender on Deflection; The Clash with Contempt, then you will know that contempt is very complex and often poorly understood. If you haven’t read it yet I would highly recommend it….reading that chapter was a major turning point for me years ago. I wish I could say that I have arrived but I can’t…but I can say that I am not where I once was regarding self-contempt and other-contempt.


How did I deal with it? I don’t want to give simplified or pat answers…truthfully, there really is no such thing when we desire true inner healing.

Two words, surrender and grace were key to my healing. And these words that I write today are just as much for me….as another layer is being peeled away in my own life.


Surrender-inviting God into the process. Surrender is not passivity, and neither is it resignation. As Dan Allender says, contempt hinders the work of God. For me personally, it is often easier to hang on to contempt rather than trust God to be personally involved with me. Surrender is not something I do once and then it is done. Because of abuse there was a great deal of shame in my life and the surrendering process can take a long time.


Change is always a process. Often victims of abuse feel that the process of change takes too long, we mistakenly think that if God is involved then the process will be brief and not to messy.

I have found personally that deep healing and supernatural change takes years….again as Dan Allender say: “years of struggle, trial and error learning, and growing in strength to make the next significant move of faith.”


God does not require perfect growth overnight and growth never allows pretending. There is much more I could say about self-contempt but I encourage you  if you have the book, The Wounded Heart…chew on each chapter, allow the Holy Spirit to guide you into all truth, one step at a time….


Grace is divine; it is a gift from our Father because He offers each of us new life based on nothing we have to offer. Personally, when I find I’ve fallen back into the old patterns of self-contempt which masquerades itself as shame, deadening my soul or control and I find myself despising something I’ve done or said, or something about myself, I know that I have turned my face away from my Lord, not accepting His amazing gift of grace.

When I finally see my self-sufficiency and self-contempt for what it is I am left with a choice…do I turn back to my Father and recognize my need for grace and repent of my perceived source of life or do I continue on with my self-protective means of avoiding hurt which keeps me from real, authentic living ….repentance is embracing a sorrow that leads to life.


Friends, be patient with yourself, cut yourself some slack when you need to, be gentle with yourself, don’t rush the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit (these words are just as much for myself)….and remember that God is in the business of restoring lives…all throughout Scripture we read about the women God restored, Ruth, Hannah, Rahab, Esther and others.


As we surrender the healing process to Him, He takes our lives, removes the cloaks of contempt and restores those things which have been stolen from us. One layer at a time.


I am reminded of the movie The Phantom of the Opera. The Phantom hid in an underground cellar of Paris and did not allow the world to hear and enjoy his beautiful music. In the same way, our contempt can also be viewed as a masked apparition that is causing us to hide our beauty from the world.

We have much to hope for…He has promised us in Psalm 3:3, “But you are a shield around me, O Lord; You bestow glory on me and lift up my head.”

12 thoughts on “Self-Contempt meets Surrender and Grace

  1. This is such a beautiful and encouraging post!

    Honestly, I’ve attempted to read that book on your recommendation at least twice but I can’t get through it. It is a very powerful and honest and useful book from what I’ve read. I guess I’m just not ready, but hope I will get there some day.

    Self-Contempt. I can feel that one. It’s what I was trying to express in the ‘Two Streams’ at one point, but I didn’t realize it was a ‘thing’.

    Thank you SO much for posting this!!


  2. This entry on self-contempt is insightful and helpful to me in my quest for understanding. I will be reading Allender’s book to gain further insight. Thank you for identifying and putting a name to this….it is very helpful. The following excerpts were especially helpful:
    -it is often easier to hang on to contempt rather than trust God to be personally involved with me.
    -when…. I find myself despising something I’ve done or said, or something about myself, I know that I have turned my face away from my Lord, not accepting His amazing gift of grace.
    -our contempt can also be viewed as a masked apparition that is causing us to hide our beauty from the world.


  3. Thank you so much for putting this out there. I found it from doing a general search on self-contempt, which JUST TODAY I have discovered I am harboring against myself. Your words are inspiring and uplifting. Thank you again, dear stranger, for opening up your beauty to enlighten and guide others to their own self-love and to the freely given love and grace of God.


    • G, you are very welcome….and thankyou for your kind words….it can often feel overwhelming when we discover just how much self contempt we have had towards ourselves….but God’s grace and love is amazing and He will walk you through this journey…keep your eyes on Him, one day at a time, one step at a time….and please feel free to drop in anytime!!!


  4. I too have been researching self-contempt. I was doing a general search and ran into this as well. How happy was I to find it! I have almost read through Wounded Heart. Not easy. I have felt as though I were all alone. While I know that isn’t the truth it is comforting to read that I truly am NOT.. Thank you for opening your heart and your words, sharing your journey! May god bless you and keep you in His perfect peace.


    • Leslie, thank you so much for your gracious and kind words… although it can feel that we are alone , and the enemy would certainly like us to believe that lie, we are not alone….many have walked this same path of woundedness…..and many, many more have found healing!!

      The Wounded Heart is the one book that has helped me the most…through it the Lord has shone much light, revealing His truth and with the Holy Spirit enabled me to begin to find healing and freedom…and there is freedom to be discovered….

      May our Father God continue to hold you close as you walk towards your freedom and healing….He is both with you and for you in this journey!!


  5. I have went through Wounded Heart 3 times in study groups. (Yes I was very damaged as a child) It did help with a lot of my issues and I did receive a certain amount of healing but I just today through the help of a friend realized how deep my self-contempt runs. She also said I had contempt for others and I really don’t see that. Besides behaving superior and making someone feel inferior (which I really don’t think I do) how can you tell if you have other centred contempt?


  6. I was actually looking for links to different styles of the bottles of tears related to Psalm 56:8 and came across your blog. I found the other one about self-contempt or other-contempt first. I personally was not real crazy about Dan Allender’s book, “The Wounded Heart.” There were some good things about the book, yes. But by and large, I felt he lacked the tender-hearted compassion of God for abuse victims. It just did not come thru, not like Diane Langberg’s book, “On the Threshold of Hope”. I loved her book. I got both of their books about the same time, and I am glad I did. I felt like Diane’s book balanced out what Dan lacked in his book. But Dan did talk about things in his book that Diane did not. So both books have their strengths and weaknesses.

    I am just now starting to see the issue of how I see myself….I found a sketch I did sometime earlier this past summer when I was angry and upset and frustrated. I usually go to my bathroom to be alone and cry, and pray. It is my prayer closet, since it is the only place I can be alone, with four kids that I homeschool and thus are home all the time. But the drawing I did had a picture of my heart with a zig-zap thru the middle, brokenhearted. With various words all around it describing my feelings. “I Hate myself” “Nothing works” “Can’t do anything right” Stubborn, stupid, hard-hearted” “Failure as a christian” “Feel like screaming and raging” “Messy home” “Chaos in the home” (kids constantly fighting) “Failure at everything” “Angry at God” “Hate being a christian” “Too d…. hard”. Oh, and names of myself: “b….h”….”Idiot” “Stupid” “Dummy”…. etc.

    Whew. Talk about hating on myself. Self-contempt. And angry at God. Lashing out. My ex-husband sexually coerced me approx. 15-20 times during our 4 1/2 yr marriage. I have continual dreams of sex abuse as a child, by several people. Struggling with this whole healing process. Grace, grace. God is speaking to me, trying to reveal these things and to draw me to Him, to see myself the way He sees me. To hear the good names He has for me, based on who I am in Christ and who He has called me to be. Journeying. Thank you. ❤


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