Jesus heals teacher of self-hatred
J struggled to love herself and her body, and was caught up in a vicious cycle of trying to improve her appearance. God led her to a time of prayer and confession, and showed her that her self-rejection was rooted in the many criticisms she and her sister received growing up. This also led them to criticise one another. With these revelations, J was able to heal and recover from her self-hatred and reconcile with her sister. Praise God!
God showed me a hurt that I had never recognised or realised.
Since little, I have had many people tell me that I am fat. Unlike the typical size of most Asians, my size is bigger and chubbier, especially when compared to society’s beauty standard. My relatives often call me the “fat chubby girl”. At home, my sister often mocked me.
Although all of us, including myself, thought this type of mocking is innocent and cute, it actually did great damage to my mind.
Growing up just like many girls who struggle with body image and self-worth, I criticised my own physical appearance and sought ways to improve myself.
There was the constant reminder and even destructive attacks from advertisements about the physical female appearance that manipulated the human desire for love and acceptance. I fell deeper into lies about myself.
I tried, chased, and spent lots of time, money, and energy to work on my physical appearance. I used many methods; skin care products, all kinds of remedies and therapies, beauty tools and gadgets. I also participated in many rigid diet and fitness programmes. Honestly, some of them did help in improving my skin condition (to look closer to the beauty standards placed on women), but most of them did great damage to my body, health, and faith in God. Needless to say, it also continued to damage my self-perception.
The words spoken over me had become like a curse and destructive spell.
It was as if I was under the spell; I did not like anything about my appearance, absolutely nothing. I hated looking in the mirror. I hated choosing how to dress because it reminded me how ugly, fat and disgusting I was. I was full of self-hatred without realising it.
I rejected the body and looks that God has given me. I didn’t know it was a problem since most people around me pursued a similar unhealthy beauty standard. Let me apologise for being bluntly honest here but many people do not accept who they are or their looks and appearance. Hence, they pursue many ways to improve themselves, and I do not blame them.
We are all just like those hamsters trapped under the wheel that has no end. We just chase, chase, and chase, but never arrive anywhere!!
Satan, the “god of this world” (2 Corinthians 4:4) spins all these lies and many industries and companies have risen up to hold us under his curses and spells. Satan also raises up celebrities and models to showcase the ‘right beauty’ or ‘perfect beauty’ and how unacceptable and unattractive we are. They too are being driven and enslaved to keep up with the appearance, just like us. Perhaps they are under even more pressure than us.
One day, I thought to myself I need help to pray and break free from this mindset but because I did not feel desperate or know what the exact issue was, I didn’t feel led to share how I felt with my fellowship group.
But when God is ready to free His children from darkness, He will make it happen.
A big surprise arrived right after I had the thought. My fellowship group leader texted me and asked if I would like to go through another renewal prayer. I was like, “YES, I feel something is wrong but I do not know what is the exact issue we should pray for.” My leader encouraged me and said the Holy Spirit would guide.
As I met with my fellowship group, we sought the Holy Spirit together. God showed us that He was going to restore the relationship between my sister and me. Growing up, she and I both received very similar criticism but for her, she was criticised for being too skinny and I for being too fat. Experiencing the same attack and destructive words spoken to us by other people, we eventually acted the same way towards each other, just as how our relatives treated us. We criticised, mocked, and rejected each other.
The words that were spoken by others and how they compared us created a division between us.
It seemed we have a hard time loving each other, but hated each other very easily — although we both are believers and spent time to seriously seek and follow God.
Every day from day to night, my sister would say that I look like a whale, that I look like a fat grandma, or that I am so ugly, fat, and disgusting that I need to fix myself. So that was all I could see in myself.
I wasn’t angry at my sister over those words, because I know she was also criticised by our relatives. There were always many words that had spoken over her appearance, and she just learned from the examples around her.
Although I didn’t criticise my sister’s appearance very much, I always criticised how she behaved.
With the self-hatred and self-disgust that I was struggling with, I couldn’t accept her and love her just like how I couldn’t accept myself. I often told her that because of this or that reason, no one would want to marry her. When I said such things, I was able to vent my anger and feel better in that moment, yet my heart was so conflicted because I loved her.
I knew I shouldn’t say such things to hurt her. It is painful to know that we didn’t love each other but hated each other instead. I cried because when we were little, we were so innocent and caring for each other, but our relatives taught us to hate and compete with each other, instead of love and accept each other.
I confessed to God that I wish that had never happened. I wish we were never placed in such competition, so we could simply just love each other.
The Lord showed me that I was wounded — not just by the words that others have spoken over me but also by the division and tension between my sister and me. Although our daily interactions did not seem like I love my sister, but deep down inside, I do. And I know that she loves me too.
The Lord knew and He also grieved for our relationship and He graciously began healing my wounds and my relationship with my sister.
He led me to repent of the hatred I had for my sister, and for all the words that I have cursed my sister. I have spoken so much hatred and bitter words, it must hurt her heart and her spirit. Someone praying for me shared James 3:14 “but if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth.”
God opened my eyes to see how I myself also acted just like the relatives who had criticised me.
I haven’t seen those relatives for many years. Their presence is gone and the memories have faded, but their critical words are very much alive with us. God also showed me that the hatred and love that I harboured took away a part of my heart from fully loving God.
After repenting, I was also led by the Holy Spirit to forgive my relatives and my sister. I believe once I prayed a prayer of forgiveness, those words could not hurt me anymore. Their power and influence will stop to have any effect on me.
God also led me to bless my sister and my relatives. When we curse others, we ourselves are cursed. We reap what we sow, as scripture teaches us.
Galatians 6:7 says, “Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.” But when we bless others, we ourselves will be blessed. That was what Proverbs 11:25 teaches us, “the one who blesses others is abundantly blessed; those who help others are helped.”
In the renewal prayer, God led me to confess all the ungodly thoughts I had toward my sister and to lay them down forever. God knew those thoughts had been hindering my love for my sister. He also knew that the hate and anger that I had inside was not healthy. How much space can there be for love when the heart has filled with hatred and anger?
After my confessions, I asked God to cleanse my heart and gave me pure, non-judgemental thoughts toward my sister.
Love from my own effort is empty and has its limitation and expiration but love from God is different.
God knew I needed His strength to love my sister, God began to show me who my sister is and how much she loved and helped me in the past, and how she was being influenced by Satan, just like I was. The love for my sister in my heart was revived and restored again. I remembered the good times we had. At the end, we were both victims of Satan and the harsh critical words from our relatives.
Toward the end of renewal prayer, I was encouraged to ask God what He thought of both my sister and me. God showed me a beautiful garden, my sister and I were playing in the garden having fun, like little children. God wanted us to be like little children and enjoy God’s presence and His goodness.
In the vision, I heard “I wish the devil never came to corrupt our relationship.” I cried because that was my desire and wish for a long time.
Two months have passed after the renewal prayer, and I have experienced the restoration; a new life, a new me. I no longer hate or am disgusted at myself when I look in the mirror. I didn’t do anything special, but my body and its condition seems more nourished, plumped, and fuller.
I believe because my new mind now has no self-hatred thoughts and feelings, so my body is no longer being cursed and attacked by them. My ‘temple of the Holy Spirit’ is now a safe and healthy place for my body cells to live and grow stronger. They are no more living in a toxic ‘environment’ being beaten and abused. My body cells do not need to live in a scared and bitter ‘home’, so everything regenerates better and healthier, like a child living in a loving, healthy, happy home that is well nurtured and loved.
Another amazing thing has happened. It has made me so happy that my sister, who now lives overseas, calls me much more than before.
We often Facetime with each other and even prayed together one time.
Things that are impossible for humans are possible for God, and God has loved on my sister and me, and turned things around for us. We are so loved and protected by our Heavenly Father. I have no other words but praise and thanksgiving for what God had done for my sister and me. To my Heavenly Father, thank you, thank you, thank you.
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