Notes for The Virtue of Self-Acceptance
Presented by Sarah Colyn
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”
“Removing Barriers to Wholeness: The Virtue of Self Acceptance” lecture and prayer live audio recording from an MPC school held in Wheaton, IL in 2019.
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.