Beating ones self up is a favorite way of passing the time for many. It can feel...biblical. It is anything but a new testament, grace filled theology. At an appearance at The Tattered Cover, I once heard one of my favorite authors, Sherman Alexie say, "I grew up Indian and Catholic. That's guilt squared." Ba-dum-bum.
Many of us metaphorically repeatedly snap an invisible whip into our own souls believing we are living out the fullness of the gospel when in fact we are denying it and not receiving it.
So learn to encounter grace with yourself. Be aware of the language you speak internally. Take note if you continue to beat yourself up for the bad choices you’ve made. Learn to be honest, direct and kind with your own soul.
Instead of beating yourself up, listen to those you have hurt and seek to be impacted by their hurt. This is more transformational than self flagellation. Hearing their words of pain isn't easy, but it is powerful. As the truth of the action is owned, grace is more likely to be encountered within. Real forgiveness of oneself is then possible and meaningful.
Refusal to forgive oneself is an obstacle to healing for many. It keeps us in the bondage of shame instead of the freedom of redemption. Guilt and shame play a role here. Often times, it first takes an encounter with God before grace is believed over shame. Forgiveness can then be realized and believed within.