breaking away from me
Trying to get to know God better involves breaking away from ‘me’. For those whose real self may have been diminished, or even annihilated, by abuse this is not easy. Their poor damaged ‘me’, is all they have left, so it is not surprising that they want to protect it.
Jesus speaks of the need to die to self. He is talking about the ‘me’, as opposed to the real self which only God fully knows and understands. He does not mean that a person should internalise the damage already done to that self, but that they should cease to experience the self as a burden, something which drags them down and prevents forward movement towards God. Letting go of ‘me’ allows joy to penetrate the damaged self and begin the work of healing. Dying to ‘me’ is in fact a very life giving activity.
Dying to ‘me’ involves actively refusing the stuff of the past. This is what Jesus means by dying to self. It requires a once and for all ‘no’ to the lies a person may have been fed with in the early part of life, and which they continue to accept as the truth even when they are well into their later years. With that ‘no’ comes a ‘yes’ to the Father’s love which is being offered to us all in Jesus Christ.
Whenever the old self, with all its lies and accompanying guilt or regret gets in the way of our view of Jesus, we need to see Jesus looking at our real self. We see him with the eye of the heart. By this I do not mean that we should simply ‘imagine’ him, but that we should let him ‘see us’. This takes courage.