This session considers how we attain the virtue of self-acceptance on the basis of Christ’s righteousness. These notes outline the basic flow of the teaching and contain the full text and reference for scriptures and quotations. At the bottom of the notes are resources for further exploration of this topic.
“Jesus then said to His disciples, ‘If anyone wishes to be a follower of mine, he must leave self behind. He must take up his cross and come with me. Whoever cares for his own safety is lost, but if a man will let himself be lost for my sake, he will find his true self. What will a man gain by winning the whole world at the cost of his true self? Or what can he give that will buy that self back?’” Matthew 16:24-26 (NEB)
“There is a line over which many of us never step. That is the line between
Immaturity / Maturity
Being under the Law, a law, or many laws / The walk in the Spirit
Listening to many voices:
those within our unhealed hearts, and of the world, the flesh, the devil / Listening to God”
Five qualities observed in people who lack self-acceptance:
1. a judgmental spirit that is harsh and demanding on self and others
2. a strong, perfectionistic attitude demanding the impossible from self and others
3. a strong pattern of fearing future events;
4. a sense of aloneness and abandonment whenever there are times of decision;
5. a preoccupation with one’s own guilt and a compulsive reaction to compete for position and success.
(from Inner Healing by Michael Scanlan)
What self-acceptance is
“The act of self-acceptance is the root of all things. I must agree to be the person who I am.
I must agree to have the qualifications which I have, agree to live within the limitations set for me. The clarity and courageousness of this acceptance is the foundation of all existence” (Romano Guardini).
What it’s based on
“The humble acceptance of myself as fallen but now justified by Another who is my righteousness is the basis on which I can accept myself, learn to laugh at myself, be patient with myself” (Payne, Restoring the Christian Soul, 51).
“Only because we are addressed by God can each of us really say ‘I’, for the whole existence of each of us is nothing other than our answer to God’s creative call, ‘You, exist!’” (Guardini, Spiritual Writings, 62).
What opposes it
Christ calls us out of self-hatred and self-deprecation that causes us to reject ourselves.
It’s only after we’ve accepted ourselves that we’re free to love others.
How we acquire it
Natural building blocks: Parental affirmation and the role of the father
Virtue: structures of character that guide our emotions, motivations, interpretations, and choices, enabling us to be and do excellently, consistently, with ease.
Dialog: a listening prayer journal is helpful in replacing the diseased inner narrative
with God’s healing word
Supernaturally Received: “We all must eventually turn to the Master Affirmer,
God the Father, for our true identity, our real, authentic selves” (Payne, Restoring the Christian Soul, 45).
What a self-accepting person looks like
Freedom: “I have permission to be, to move, to walk with God” (Payne, RCS, 49).
Divine Objectivity: We can relate with love and respect, speaking truth and naming problems appropriately, and seeing and affirming the good.
Unselfconsciousness: “And then, wonder of wonders, we are enabled for at least
part of the time, to forget ourselves” (Payne, Restoring the Christian Soul, 51).
Resources on this topic:
Part I of Leanne Payne’s Restoring the Christian Soul through Healing Prayer, “The Virtue of Self-Acceptance”
See below for full text of guided prayer of repentance from self-hatred and dedication to self-acceptance
PRAYER OF RENUNCIATION OP SELF-HATRED
For God caused Christ, who himself knew nothing of sin, to be sin for our sakes, so that in Christ we might be made good with the goodness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:21, J. B. Philips, emphasis in Philip’s text).
Prayer of Thanksgiving
Holy Father, I thank You that I am reconciled to You through the death of Your Son,
and that through faith in Him as my Savior from sin,
my heart is not only washed clean from my own sin,
but it can be delivered from its grievous reactions
to the sins and shortcomings of others around and against it.
Because of Your Son, Father, I can look straight up to You
and dare to let all these feelings surface, and I do so now,
knowing that Christ is ready to take them
and give me in exchange His Life and Your perspective on myself and others.
Accept my thanksgiving, O God our Father.
I thank You for Christ who has redeemed me from sin and death
and who even now is pouring His eternal life into me.
Lord Jesus Christ Son of the Father,
in whom I am to abide, to fully live, move and have my being, (my true and new self),
I direct my thanksgiving to You.
I bow before You as Lord of my life, and I thank You,
Precious Holy One, crucified for me,
that Your blood justifies me, that in oneness with You, Your goodness is mine.
Holy Spirit, who constantly and faithfully mediate to us the love of both Father and Son,
I thank you now for the grace to receive all that is mine as a child of God.
Empower me now as I renounce the sin of self-hatred
and as I move toward the goal of wholly accepting my true identity
as a child of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Pray quietly, giving thanks.
If diseased feelings start to surface, simply allow them to flow,
one at a time up and out of your heart and mind and into the crucified One.
Now see Him dying on the cross to take those things into Himself.
Then see Him risen again, ascending to the Father, there to intercede to the Father for you,
to pour out upon you His Spirit,
to send to you words of life that engender in you new and wholesome feelings and attitudes.
And give thanks.
Prayer of Petition
You may want to lift, simply and clearly, petitions to the Lord at this time. A prayer such as the following might be in order. It will better prepare you to make your renunciation of self-hatred.
Well you know, O Lord, that I have been unable to appropriate Your holiness and righteousness as I wish;
I have been unable to practice Your Presence because my feelings about myself are so diseased.
I have looked to You, just now, as my dying Savior, taking into Yourself my sin and darkness,
my diseased feelings about you, others, myself.
I thank You that You have done this and that in time even my feeling self will reflect this.
Heretofore, Lord, I have taken my eyes from You and from objective truth
and have descended into and lived out of my unhealed feeling self.
This, with Your help, Lord, I will stop doing,
and I will note the very moment I am “living out of” that subjective, hurting place
and will look straight up to You for the healing word You are always sending.
I confess to You the sin of pride that is bound up in my self hatred.
I thank You for Your forgiveness and for full release from it.
Prayer of Renunciation
Now, Lord, in Your Name and with the grace You shower upon me,
I renounce the sin of self-hatred.
Quietly give thanks for God’s forgiveness.
With this renunciation, a multitude of accusing thoughts or maybe even root causes behind the self-hatred may begin to surface. Simply write them down in your prayer journal, acknowledging them, and then listen for the thought or the illumination God is sending you, for this will be the word from Him that not only replaces the diseased thought pattern but will flood you with understanding.
This session addresses the barrier to our wholeness in Christ that is created by unforgiveness. These notes outline the basic flow of the teaching and contain the full text and reference for scriptures and quotations. At the bottom of the notes are resources for further exploration of this topic.
Forgiving others for petty offenses
“It’s the everydayness of such irritations and transgressions that get to us, and we can easily come to despise those who offend us in these ways” (Payne, Restoring the Christian Soul Through Healing Prayer, 81).
“We find we must enroll in a primary level of the Holy Spirit’s school of prayer. ‘Father, I am nothing apart from you. Have mercy on me. I have been seeing apart from You. If you leave me for an instant, I shall be even more prideful, more self-serving.’ When we learn to pray this prayer, without the least taint of the wrong kind of self-hatred on the one hand, or a feeling of superiority on the other, we will be well on our way to maturity in Christ” (Payne, 83).
Forgiving others when the offense is so great
Some sins are so grievous that, from our human vantage point, they seem unforgivable.
We find the supernatural grace to forgive by pressing into Christ and taking our place in Him.
Resources on this topic:
Chapter seven of Leanne Payne’s Restoring the Christian Soul through Healing Prayer, “Second Great Barrier to Wholeness in Christ: Failure to Forgive Others”
This session considers Christian forgiveness and how we participate in it by faith. These notes outline the basic flow of the teaching and contain the full text and reference for scriptures and quotations. At the bottom of the notes are resources for further exploration of this topic.
The necessity of forgiving
“Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.” Mark 11:24, 25.
“Forgive us our sins, as we also forgive everyone who sins against us.” (Luke 11:3)
“The way to one’s neighbor leads only through Christ” (Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship, 93).
What is forgiveness?
“The exclusive prerogative of Christianity, not natural to the human heart, but rather an exotic, which Christ brought with Him from Heaven” (Meyer, Our Daily Bread, May 7).
“A miracle of God that is to be participated in by faith” (Coutts, A Shared Mercy, 118).
Forgiveness is one aspect of biblical reconciliation
This is an ongoing, non-linear ministry of the Body of Christ;
Forgiveness is not:
“Because of Jesus’ cross and emptied tomb, and because of His ascension and sending of the Spirit,there is a fellowship made on earth wherein we people look to ‘continually receive afresh’ our freedom from sin and allow ourselves ‘to be set forward on the road ahead” (Coutts, 172-173).
Resources on this topic:
John Coutts’ A Shared Mercy
Part II of Leanne Payne’s Restoring the Christian Soul through Healing Prayer, “The Forgiveness of Sin”
Leslie Vernick’s How to Act Right When Your Spouse Acts Wrong
This session addresses the failure to receive God’s forgiveness by considering those who do not recognize their need to be forgiven. These notes outline the basic flow of the teaching and contain the full text and reference for scriptures and quotations. At the bottom of the notes are resources for further exploration of this topic.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. I John 1:9
We need to know we’re sinners
Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.
I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance. Luke 5:31-32
Cultural influence, bad theology, or inner denial and pride may block our awareness of the “bad guy” within, and this blindness can be worsened by a super-religious attitude.
“If the Divine call does not make us better, it will make us very much worse” (Lewis, Reflections on the Psalms, 31).
“We must know and acknowledge our two identities — that of sinner and saint. Our prime identity, of course, is that of saint… But the rhythm of repentance and reception of forgiveness must be woven into every life. We are always to rise up from confession in our prime identity, having received forgiveness” (Payne, Restoring the Christian Soul, 145).
Search me, O God, and know my heart, Test me and know my anxious thoughts; See if there be any offensive way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting. Ps 139:23,24
We need to be in touch with our hearts
Self-analysis or an activistic state can thwart authentic prayer and block us from receiving the forgiveness God is offering.
Our hearts must be open
Like the dwarfs in The Last Battle, our hearts may be closed off through cynical self-protection: “The dwarfs are for the dwarfs. We won’t be taken in… You wanted to make use of us. That’s why you rescued us” (Lewis, 73).
As Aslan explained to Lucy, a closed heart can refuse to receive God’s grace: “You see, they will not let us help them. They have chosen cunning instead of belief. Their prison is only in their own minds, yet they are in that prison; and so afraid of being taken in that they can not be taken out” (ibid, 148).
We must agree with God about sin
In order to receive God’s forgiveness, we must will to turn from our sin. The Spirit can revive a seared conscience, restoring our ability to feel compunction and choose repentance.
Resources on this topic:
Chapter nine of Leanne Payne’s Restoring the Christian Soul through Healing Prayer, “Third Great Barrier to Wholeness in Christ: Failure to Receive Forgiveness”
This session addresses the failure to receive God’s forgiveness by considering those who remain “under the law.” These notes outline the basic flow of the teaching and contain the full text and reference for scriptures and quotations. At the bottom of the notes are resources for further exploration of this topic.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9
“It is often harder for us to receive forgiveness from God than to forgive even our worst enemies” (Leanne Payne, Restoring the Christian Soul through Healing Prayer, 141).
Remaining Under the Law
Leanne Payne identifies several potential root causes that may prevent a Christian from receiving God’s forgiveness. Remaining under the law is the first issue she addresses, and the one we will focus on here. As she states: “The man ‘under the law’ will always feel guilty. He does not receive forgiveness because he is still trying to be ‘good enough’ on his own merit; he strives to be perfect on his own” (141).
How and why does the Christian, who has been set free in Christ, end up striving as though still under the law?
Firstly, this is the default stance of all of fallen humanity. It is deeply ingrained in our hearts.
· We have a fundamental drive toward autonomy.
· We are slow to change.
· Many Christians have the impression that we are saved by grace initially, but then must live by our own efforts.
Secondly, many of us discover within us that we have a compulsive drive toward perfectionism.
Thirdly, we need to remember that we have a very real enemy, Satan the accuser.
In sum, the old voices of the world, the flesh, and the devil conspire together to trap us under diseased heart-habits that rob us of the joy of forgiveness.
The good news—as Paul tells us in Romans 10:4—is that “Christ is the end (or fulfillment) of the law, so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.”
· We need to receive this truth with a deliberate act of will
· Discerning and repenting of pride is essential
· Receiving forgiveness requires humility
· Receiving forgiveness leads to freedom, joy, and spiritual renewal
“The law, as someone has said, is a fence to make us be good. In Christ, the fence has been removed. The walk in the Spirit replaces the fence. In listening-obedience to Christ and His Word, we are trusting always in His righteousness and doing what we hear Him say. In this way, we do indeed fulfill (not just the letter but) the spirit of the law” (Leanne Payne, Restoring the Christian Soul, 142).
Resources on this topic:
Chapter 9 of Leanne Payne’s Restoring the Christian Soul through Healing Prayer, “Third Great Barrier to Wholeness in Christ: Failure to Receive Forgiveness” “Removing Barriers to Wholeness: Receiving God’s Forgiveness” lecture and prayer live audio recording from an MPC school held in Wheaton, IL in 2019.
Key texts on freedom in the life Christ came to give us: John 8:31-32; John 10:10; John 8:36; Job 3:25-26; Hebrews 12:2.
Biblical themes related to self-acceptance: Romans 8:28-32; Colossians 1:16-18.
Hindrances or obstacles to self-acceptance: Father/Mother wounds; Unforgiveness; Inner vows and judgments; Shock, hurt, and trauma; Fears; Unconfessed sin and failure to receive forgiveness; A strong legalistic approach to Christianity.
What Self-Acceptance is not: Suppression or denial of reality; Expressing approval of things in us, our families, or the world around us; Becoming passive.
Characteristics of the False Self Security, significance, and sometimes position are achieved by what we have, what we do, and what others think of me Identity is our idealized self
Steps to Self-Acceptance Willingness to evaluate where you are in relationship to God the Father – John 17:3-4, John 14: 6-7, John 14:8 Accept the Love of the Father Choose to accept who you are, as you are, in the world as it is
Characteristics of the True Self Knowing and accepting ourselves begins by knowing the self that is known by God Significance, security, and position are achieved by knowing you are deeply loved by Father God Destiny is found by surrendering to God and discovering your part in His world Identity is who you are according to God the Father and what He tells you in His Word – Psalm 139:14-16, Isaiah 44:24 Living out life in His grace and mercy – John 8:32, Isaiah 49:14-16