When Even Therapy Can’t Help You Get Rid of Church-Induced Self-Hatred

The Bible isn’t for beginners; that is not where faith journeys should begin. Bible reading is for people already somewhat grounded in their spirituality.

If you are carrying around guilt and shame that you began carrying during your childhood, here is the first step toward your recovery: stop reading the Bible as a whole.

The inner you needs to be healed; it may be your inner child. Religious instruction should begin with (and should have begun for you with) orthopraxy, not orthodoxy. Think: case studies and experiential learning; anything theoretical will come way, way down the road. (There may now for you have to be a long period of UNlearning.)

When your healing is in process and you are regaining your strength, you may pick up the Bible and read passages recommended by a trusted spiritual advisor or sensitive pastoral counselor. Until that moment comes, the Bible because it was not properly explained to you and perhaps used as a weapon against you is part of your hurt, and you need to be off of it until the wounds it contributed to heal, until you can be taught to use it properly–as a tool to inform and inspire.

The Bible should never have been used to hurt you, threaten you, frighten you, or demean you. You must never let even a hint of any of these happen again.