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.”