My son has been working on his senior thesis. I love listening to him share his thought process. He shared that he is defining sin as anything that dehumanizes another. I love this definition and it got me thinking about the idea that I sin against self. There are times when I act in ways that dehumanizes myself.
This occurs in a variety of ways. Every time I see myself as not enough, incapable, broken, or less than, I sin against self. I treat myself as less than human. This shows up primarily in my self talk. I can be incredibly unkind to myself within my own thought life. I internalize my self dehumanization.
Others, my externalize their dehumanization of self. Anger, blame, excuses excessive substance use, and self harm are some of the ways we externally sin against self. Whether internally or externally, these behaviors are destructive to our being, and not what was intended for us.
26 Then God said, “Let us make humankind[c] in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth,[d] and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.” 27 So God created humankind[e] in his image,
in the image of God he created them;[f]
male and female he created them. 28 God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.”… 31 aGod saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good.(Genesis 1:26-28, 31 NRSV).
God created us, me, you in their likeness and said that we are very good. While I had always thought of sinning as something I did against others, this scripture confirms, for me, that anything I do that dehumanizes self is also a sin. These may be some of the most destructive sins I commit each day.
This gives me a new perspective to the self work I continue to do. It’s easy to see self beat up as okay since it only effects me. When I sin against self, I hurt God as much as when I sin against someone else. He wants me to be whole more than I want to be whole. His creation is very good.
Do you do self beat up? Do you internalize or externalize it? Both? How are you moving through it? Share your experience here and breathe life and bring hope to others.