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Self-Condemnation/Self-Hatred

“We pray with such extreme language, reflecting not a vision of legal condemnation: rather, it is the recognition of Beauty itself, in Whose Presence we appear broken, soiled, with nothing to recommend us. It is the language of repentance – but not of morbid self-hatred. It is the language of self-forgetting of leaving the self behind, of finding nothing within the self to cling to. There is another word for this self-forgetting: ecstasy. Again, this word has been abused in modern language and now means an extreme emotional state. But its Greek root means to “stand outside of oneself.” Thus the Fathers will speak of God’s ecstasy – His going forth to us. But there is also our ecstasy, as we forget ourselves and rush towards Him.” (Father Stephen Freeman)


“…“The beginning of salvation is self-condemnation.”  (You will not find a book in the “Self-Help” section on your local bookstore with this title!) This has nothing to do with an unhealthy “self-hatred.” It means to recognize our sins and need for repentance freed from the useless refuge of “self-justification.”…the real question becomes: what is the foundation or ground of the self? What guarantees its stability and continuity? What prevents the self from being one more fleeting and ephemeral reality, so much “dust in the wind” that goes the way of our bodies?...it has to be God. Either the self is grounded and stabilized in God, or it is grounded in “nothing.” We are either “God-sourced” or “nothing-sourced.”…Perhaps all of the clamorous cries of “self-affirmation” that we hear today are an instinctive reaction or even rebellion against this inherent nihilism. A godless quest of self-discovery leads to a dead-end encounter with our own nothingness!” (Evagrios of Pontus, Fr. Stephen Kostoff)


“God does not sit up in the sky, setting us impossible tasks we must perform at any cost, no matter how unsuited they may be to our nature and abilities. He doesn’t begrudge our innocent pleasures, or enjoy our failures or mistakes. Humility is not self-hatred, and self-reproach is not neurotic self-obsession…Self-accusation is also a big bear-trap for self-hating…I was reading an article by Elder Sophrony of Essex last week. Someone was asking him about the psychological and emotional problems so prevalent in western life, and whether he felt that secular psychiatry offered any help. He said that, with the exception of syndromes directly attributable to malfunctioning brain chemistry, he felt that psychiatrists often do more harm than good by making people focus too much on themselves and too little on God and their neighbor. He said they begin to concentrate too much on the “designated problem,” often not the real problem anyway, and then try to change it by yet more self-analysis and introspection, which only makes us prey to many kinds of illusion.” (Orthodox nun)


“We can only fight against the spirit of pride, unforgiveness, and self-condemnation with humility, love, and compassion. Humility does not mean bowing and scraping. Rather, it is being nakedly honest with oneself and others. We have to speak the truth in love; but we can only do this in the brutal honesty of humility, seeing our own sins and realizing the other is no different from ourselves. We can address offenses, but if there is no love in our speech and attitude, there is no truth, only facts. And facts do not heal, only love and compassion.” (Hieromonk Jonah)


“…we are much better at this ransacking of ourselves and self-condemnation than we are at accepting the new life of resurrection we are given. This is grace which, despite all our falling away, never disappears and constantly seeks to raise us up. The false self takes it that God is other, elsewhere, up or out there. But as Paul notes, the mystery is Christ within us, our hope of glory (Col 1:27).” (Fr. Richard Rohr, Father Michael Plekon)


#FatherStephenFreeman #EvagriosofPontus #FrStephenKostoff #Orthodoxnun #HieromonkJonah #FrRichardRohr #FatherMichaelPlekon


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