If you’re like me, you may have succumb to the concept of “punishing yourself” when you intentionally or unintentionally did something wrong. Or perhaps you may have punished yourself when someone else did some form of harm to you – and now you’re taking the blame of the hurt upon you. Now here’s one that bothers me because it happens at times – people will put guilt trips on you to puff themselves up and then you could fall to the trap of punishing yourself.
Regardless of how you got to the place where you are punishing yourself, there are no positives to it. In fact, the greatest danger to it is death (whether physical, mental or emotional). I would like to use Judas Iscariot as the best example. He was one of the twelve disciples but as we draw closer to the last supper before Christ was to be crucified, he decided to sell Christ out to the chief priests. Let’s go to Matthew 26:14-16.
Then one of the twelve [disciples], who was called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, “What are you willing to give me if I hand Jesus over to you?” And they weighed out thirty pieces of silver. And from that moment Judas began looking for an opportune time to betray Jesus.
Judas was intentional in what he was doing. Drop down to verse 21 (and we will go to verse 25): And as they were eating, He said, “I assure you and most solemnly say to you that one of you will betray Me.” Being deeply grieved and extremely distressed, each one of them began to say to Him, “Surely not I, Lord?” Jesus answered, “He who has dipped his hand in the bowl with Me [as a pretense of friendship] will betray Me. The Son of Man is to go [to the cross], just as it is written [in Scripture] of Him; but woe (judgment is coming) to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been good for that man if he had never been born.” And Judas, the betrayer, said, “Surely it is not I, Rabbi?” Jesus said to him, “You have said it yourself.”
What I like about this is that Jesus actually called him out on it.
In verses 47-50, Judas came with a large crowd representing the chief priests, kissing Jesus in a deliberate act of betrayal. Once that happened, Jesus was arrested.
Now let’s go to the next chapter and go from verse 3 to 5:
When Judas, His betrayer, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was gripped with remorse and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders, saying, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.” They replied, “What is that to us? See to that yourself!” And throwing the pieces of silver into the temple sanctuary, he left; and went away and hanged himself.
Notice that the chief priests didn’t care about the money or the fact that Judas betrayed Christ. All they cared about was Christ being crucified. Judas was remorseful knowing that he sinned, but instead of seeking forgiveness from Christ, he hung himself. Some people would say that he truly wasn’t remorseful, and that may very well be true. The end result is still the same, because he didn’t let go of the guilt, he took his own life.
Now what if you are one who had a wrong done to you and you’re punishing yourself? First of all, don’t blame yourself because you’re not at fault. I ask that you allow Christ to heal your heart and the pain that you suffered.
There are so many people who are punishing themselves for mistakes they made, for the relationships that they got in that they knew they shouldn’t have (or perhaps they were blindsided after they were in the relationship), for the abuse they suffered in childhood or the abuse they endured in a relationship. Of course, this list can go on. However, the tragedy for many people who are steadily punishing themselves may not be dead physically, but they may dead internally (i.e., mentally and/or emotionally). If this is you, know that my heart cries for you.
I’m not going to just tell you to let it go (because it may have to be in stages), but I ask that you allow Christ to heal you in areas you know you’re hurt, and even in areas that you don’t know you’re hurting. If you continue to punish yourself, the enemy will do anything he can to make you stay in that state of mind so you can die in every area.
I can’t close this blogpost without saying this: if you’re one who intentionally did something you shouldn’t have done, don’t punish yourself (and the devil will do anything he can to make you believe that you can’t recover), just look at 1 John 1:9 (that’s your homework assignment – smile).
Know that we don’t have to punish ourselves and put our lives in danger. Much love to you all.
The Mayne Man