“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: ”For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8: 35-39
The last 16 years PTSD and related flashbacks of childhood sexual abuse and rape have really put me through the wringer. I have experienced a few highs, but many, many, very deep lows. And right now I have several close friends facing various trials of faith. I just needed to be reminded and to remind these dear friends today that NOTHING can separate us from the love of Jesus.
However, I know of one thing that can sure seem like it does separate us from Christ’s love, and that one thing is self condemnation. When we judge ourselves too harshly, it is like we put up a wall between us and Christ. I am well familiar with self hate and loathing. When I was in the throes of PTSD flashback hell, I said and did unthinkable things to the ones that I loved. I was lost in the past and I thought they were more of my abusers and I would do anything to create space between me and them. I drove them away with harsh words and actions. I even tried to drive God away from me because I was so ashamed of my behavior during PTSD episodes.
I held myself to an impossible standard of upright behavior and when I failed to attain that standard, I judged myself as being totally unworthy of love and concern. I mean how could a Christ follower act in those ways? My loved ones, psychiatrists, and counselors told me I was not fully responsible for my actions, but I could not hear them through the walls of pain and remorse I had built for myself.
Even without the PTSD I have always been very hard on myself. I have always been quick to call myself a hypocrite when I fell short of a perfect “Christian” walk. Grace was something I could freely give to others, but never to myself. The outcome of my Super-Christian mentality led to deep and dark depression and even more self hate.
In the last several years I have been humbled by the ever-amazing love and grace of Jesus The Christ. I hit my rock bottom and lost nearly everything, but even in the midst of great pain and loss there was Jesus. He was always there, but I could not recognize Him because I tried to view Him through lenses of religious perfection. When I finally just surrendered and gave up, He picked me right up and placed me on my feet again. Now here I am ready to go as many rounds as necessary to win the battles that He now picks for me. Now I realize that the only standard is Christ and that NO ONE measures up because we all fall short. The only one who can meet that standard is Jesus and the good news is that HE meets the standard for each and every one of us EVERY time. We NEVER measure up, but HE ALWAYS DOES!
I was concerned about judging myself properly because I was worried about not measuring up on JUDGMENT DAY. Now I realize that judgment day is not about me or what I have done, but it is all about Jesus and what He has done for us in advance. To my friends who are struggling…just give up and surrender WHATEVER is holding you down. Just accept His grace, mercy and love and learn how to walk in it. I know EASY to say, harder to do, but if I can do it surely anyone can. Remember that no low is too low for Jesus to reach and deliver. I know and I am praying for you all.
Kirk Out !