Some More Thoughts on Self-Loathing from Job

Some More Thoughts on Self-Loathing from Job


Last night we saw in Job’s repentance that he had come to despise himself.  Job 42:6 “Therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes" (ESV).  Job had previously confessed self-loathing (Job 7:16; 9:21; 10:1).  But that self-loathing was directly related to his suffering and misery. He hated himself because he had come to hate his miserable life.  But in his repentance, his self-loathing was directly to his sin (42:5-6).  He had said some horrible things about God, spoken in ignorance and arrogance.  Those ugly words about his glorious God and King came from his heart.  His self-loathing in Job 42 was a hatred of his own sin and its putrid source.


Self-loathing is biblical (Ezek. 16:60-63; 20:42-44; 36:31-32; Rom. 7:24).  But self-loathing must be qualified because it can easily be nothing more than worldly sorrow (2 Cor. 7:10).  Two good questions to ask regarding our self-loathing is (1) where is it coming from and (2) where is it leading?  If it comes from disappointment with self, it could be nothing more than wounded pride and not godly sorrow (2 Cor. 7:9-10).  If it only leads to despair than it is nothing more than worldly sorrow (2 Cor. 7:9-10).  However, if it comes from a sight of our sin in light of God’s beauty and grace, then it is good self-loathing (Rom. 7:22-23).  If it leads us to exuberant joy in Christ and His grace then it is Gospel-self-loathing (1 Tm. 1:15)! 


God does not intend for us to live cowering with fear and shame, but He does expect us to own our sin, feel the weight of condemnation and guilt and then revel in undeserved grace and mercy (Lk. 7:47)! 


I close by repeating the words of B.B. Warfield:

The attitude of the “miserable sinner” is not only not one of despair; it is not even one of depression; and not even one of hesitation or doubt; hope is too weak a word to apply to it.

It is an attitude of exultant joy.

Only this joy has its ground not in ourselves but in our Savior.

We are sinners and we know ourselves to be sinners, lost and helpless in ourselves.

But we are saved sinners; and it is our salvation which gives the tone to our life, a tone of joy which swells in exact proportion to the sense we have of our ill-desert; for it is he to whom much is forgiven who loves much, and who, loving, rejoices much.

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