I have this friend. I hate him.

Hate is a strong word. My parents used to tell me not to use it — they preferred “dislike.” However, this guy is worthy of the strength the word “hate” brings.

I’ve known this guy a long time. Grew up with him practically. And I have had patience with him, praying he’ll get better, hoping against all hope that he’ll become bearable one day. But it hasn’t happened yet.

I think that’s what I hate most about this man, too: he never gets better.

I mean, I can handle his annoying habits — he’s way too touchy-feely at times and makes the worst jokes. I can ignore those, and I can even handle his ignorance. He thinks he’s smart because he graduated with high GPA’s, but I know it’s simply because he had easy classes and an easy major.

But it’s the fact that this guy doesn’t ever change. I have waited YEARS for him to get better. I have prayed since before I was even a Christian that he would change. And still nothing!

I mean, he has changed — but not for the better. It’s as if every time he “grows up,” he finds a new way to be an idiot. No matter what, he is always making the worst decisions and not realizing it. He’s a terrible person, and I wish others saw him the same way.

That’s the other part I hate almost as much as his inability to change — people like him. He’s personable, at least on the outside anyway. People get along with him and think they know him. But they don’t. Very few actually do know him; I’m one of the “privileged” ones.

But you know what makes all this worse? Because it is possible for this to be worse.

The man I hate the most is me.

I hate myself. I hate myself more than anybody could ever imagine. I’ve always hated myself and everything about myself. I hate the way I look. I hate my body. I hate my personality. I hate my strengths and my weaknesses. I hate absolutely everything about myself. And I completely fake it around the entire world.

A few people know a little about this hatred I hold for myself. My wife is aware of it and doesn’t like it. If I ever mention how much I hate myself, she gets upset with me and tells me to stop. I’ll drop the subject, but the self-hatred won’t go away.

John might know better than my wife how I hate myself — probably why he’s stuck around through my craziness. No matter how I treat him, it’ll always be better than how I treat myself.

Otherwise, no one knows. Not even you, dear reader, can fully grasp the amount of my self-loathing.

Whenever I see myself, I see every mistake I have ever made. I see every pitfall, every blemish, every sin, every flaw. I see a horrible, wretched creature unworthy of any kindness.

Yet Jesus still loves me when I struggle to do so. And I don’t know why.

I mean, I know why. Seminary training can get me that far. But it still doesn’t make sense. It never will.

I know Jesus created me. I know He died for me. I know He will call me to heaven one day.

And I know He loves me.

I just wonder if I’ll ever be able to do the same.

Do you struggle with self-hatred? Do you tend to over-analyze yourself and what others think of you? Name three things you love about yourself in the comments below!

* Photo courtesy Jordan Flynn, Creative Commons.

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