Magnifying Your Mistakes

Do you magnify your #mistakes? Don't. Here's why. via @blestbutstrestDear Friend;

I know how easy those phrases of condemnation can slip into the closet of your mind and pop out to torment you in the dark of night. “If only I had,” and “I should have,” and “Why didn’t I?” rattle around and poke you awake in the middle of the night and demand your attention—keeping you from sweet sleep and filling you with the choking miasma of regret.

Those thoughts? They are weapons of the forces of darkness trying to drag you down and teach you to hate yourself with a crippling intensity that keeps you from making progress towards the Light. Satan likes to hear us beat ourselves up, condemn ourselves and spend endless hours tormenting ourselves for our past actions and mistakes because those things distract us from truth.

The truth that God loves us—no matter what. The truth that he forgives us—no matter what. The truth that we can start over because he offers us the status of ‘new creation’—no matter what. (tweet this)

And it seems that the more I beat myself up, the less patience I have with others. The more I criticize myself, the more I criticize others. When I treat myself in a hateful, unloving way, it becomes so much easier to treat others in a hateful, unloving way. Pretty soon, I have even more reasons to dislike myself (and dislike others even more).

Jesus talks about the key to loving others in Matthew 23:38-39 when he summarizes the law of God. First, we are to love God. Second, he tells us that we must “Love your neighbor as yourself.” If we don’t love ourselves, we can’t love others.

I don’t think he’s talking about the kind of love that says, “Hey, look at me! I’m so cool, important and worthy.” After all, 1 Corinthians 13 makes it clear that love isn’t something shouty or boastful. Instead, it’s something patient, loving and kind that keeps no records of wrongs. How often do we try to show this kind of love to others but refuse to extend it to ourselves?

I recently read Luke 6:37 in the Message version—“Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults—unless, of course, you want the same treatment. Don’t condemn those who are down; that hardness can boomerang. Be easy on people; you’ll find life a lot easier.”

And then it hit me. What if I directed the message at myself? After all, Jesus is trying to tell us how to love others—and he also tells us that we must love ourselves! What if we read the verse this way?

“Don’t pick on yourself, jump on your failures and criticize your faults—unless, of course, you want to treat others that way. Don’t condemn yourself when you’re down; that hardness can boomerang. Be easy on yourself; you’ll find life a lot easier.”

God offers us endless grace for our sins, mistakes and failures. Who are we to take the place of the divine and withhold those same things from ourselves? (tweet this)

In treating ourselves kindly, we find the grace and courage to treat others kindly. When I examine my bad attitudes towards others, I often find that I harbor a bad attitude about myself. When I judge others harshly, I’m usually secretly judging myself.

And so, my friend, go easy on yourself. Slam the closet door on those litanies of regret and self-condemnation. Claim God’s promise that in Christ, you are a new creation (2 Cor. 5:17)—and spending time with your Creator every day so that he can reveal his handiwork in your life and through your life.

Dare to go deeper in your relationship with God (and in analyzing the way you treat yourself).

Anita currently teaches English to 7th-12th graders. She describes herself as a ‘recovering cancer caregiver’ who gives thanks daily that her husband has been cancer-free for ten years.

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  • Oh Anita- I needed this today. I’ve been picking at, criticizing, and condemning myself a lot lately, and not stopping there. My attitude spreads to how I treat others… and it’s ugly. Thank you for this redirection and encouragement to align my thoughts and attitudes with His. And more importantly, to receive His love for myself and others.
    Karen Brown recently posted…When Two Is More Than ThreeMy Profile

    • I’m so glad that I wrote this morning :). I’ve been thinking about that verse all week–but God’s timing is always perfect. Have a wonderful day!

  • Yes, Grace! God’s grace for you and me. When we mess up we need to throw it off, repent and turn to Jesus. Thank you for your words today, they spoke to my heart.
    Tammy recently posted…SEEKMy Profile

  • Stopping by from Jennifer and Holley’s link up… always glad to read your truth-filled and encouraging posts! This is a wonderful reminder of God’s unfailing love and unconditional grace to us and encouragement to receive it ourselves and extend it to others. Blessings to you

    • Thanks for stopping by, Danise, and for your kind words :).

  • To me. self-criticism and regret over missed opportunities bespeaks a concentration on the temporal.

    Sure, I’ve made mistakes, and aspects of the life I wanted have slipped away.

    But I am here NOW, and this is worthy of my best.

    And for the rest…I believe that God not only saves every tear, He saves every dream, as well. They’ll be waiting for me in His house.
    Andrew Budek-Schmeisser recently posted…LOVE-U – O for ObserveMy Profile

    • You have a great way of looking at it, my friend. If we’re looking towards our future with Christ, we’ll know and understand that he loves us–even when we make mistakes.
      Anita Ojeda recently posted…Magnifying Your MistakesMy Profile

  • I just read your post back to back with Bethany Boring and it is like Jesus is just covering me, cleansing me from the condemnation. Such a treat to be blessed with these words today.
    Messy Mom recently posted…Non Fiction ReviewsMy Profile

    • Don’t you love how God orchestrates exactly what we need to hear, just when we need to hear it? I’m so glad you stopped by!

  • Yes! self compassion, we need it and how insulting to God when we don’t care for ourselves the way he cares for us. Thanks for sharing this.
    Martha Mason recently posted…Meditating for Peace and JoyMy Profile

    • Amen! I never considered that it’s insulting to God, but I think you’re on to something there!
      Anita Ojeda recently posted…A Letter to CaregiversMy Profile

  • And it seems that the more I beat myself up, the less patience I have with others. The more I criticize myself, the more I criticize others. When I treat myself in a hateful, unloving way, it becomes so much easier to treat others in a hatful, unloving way. Pretty soon, I have even more reasons to dislike myself (and dislike others even more).
    I really love that and it does open my eyes to truth. And the opposite is true as well – kindness is such an important habit to practice. I had a student come back to school today that has been difficult; I knew the Lord wanted me to be extra kind to him – I am so glad I have the Lord within me to be able to do those kinds of things. He is good.
    Debra Alexander recently posted…Day 14/ 365 Fear Not – Conquer Your EnemiesMy Profile

  • This thread of “no regrets” continues to flow in and through almost every blog post I’ve read today. Holy confirmation!
    Susan Shipe recently posted…we can’t go back – or can we?My Profile

    • I’m pretty sure the Holy Spirit directs those who blog for God and their words to orchestrate a crashing wave of the message or love or to toss out a life ring as needed.
      Anita Ojeda recently posted…A Letter to My DaughtersMy Profile

  • I’ve never thought about 1 Corinthians 13 in terms of why I ought to love myself, a love which reflects God’s for me and allows me to love others like He does. Thanks, Anita, for this shift in perspective.
    Becky Keife recently posted…The HOPE of Knowing You’re Not Alone When Grief Leaks Out (and the Graveside Letter I Wrote)My Profile

  • I love the way I can “hear” you through your writing! This is great! We do allow negative thinking to dictate our value instead of digging roots into His Word. I still love the way you wrote this…its so blunt, yet rounded and SO encouraging!!
    Bethany Boring recently posted…New Well LifeMy Profile

  • Oh Anita, this is priceless. Thank you for the truth that you’ve penned. For we can be our own worst taskmasters, completely devoid of grace for ourselves. And if we’re not able to love ourselves well, there’s just no way we’ll be able to share the gracious love of Christ with others in a way that is truly authentic and grace-filled.

    Thank you, friend …
    Linda@Creekside recently posted…8 Smart Choices That Will Breathe Fresh Life Into Your HomeMy Profile

  • “Endless grace for our sins and failures”….so very thankful for this! Stopping by from Jennifer’s place and glad for this reminder of how we should treat ourselves~

  • What a great way to put it! I am so hard on myself, so I need to tell myself this. I don’t want my girls to think they should be critical of themselves because of my bad example!
    Sarah Donegan recently posted…Letter to a Missionary FriendMy Profile

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