As I think I’ve mentioned on this blog before, I struggle with guilt about the most inane things. And guilt about things not so inane. Guilt is a sin and is never a proper motivation for anything. Guilt is arrogance, helping Jesus out in punishing yourself, ignoring or disbelieving that His death on the cross was enough. No for some sins, I need to punish myself a little more. Yuck.
Anyway, recently I was researching asceticism, which is a trend of the sin nature and a great source of religion, legalism, self-righteousness and guilt… and I came across self-mortification, which is part of asceticism. Self-mortification is voluntary self-punishment in order to atone for some wrong doing (“You twit! Why in the world did you do that? Now what’s everyone going to think? How can you even call yourself a Christian! Sheesh! I canNOT believe you did that!”); self-abasement, penalization. It’s degradation or humiliation of oneself, especially because of feelings of guilt or failure…
I do all that stuff. But on the page for self-mortification, I came across mention of medieval flagellants. People who took the Word very literally where it talked about putting the flesh to death and went around whipping themselves with one or more cat o’ nine tails to atone for whatever wrongdoing they’d committed. There was even a picture.
I love it. They look soooo stupid. I’m going to hold this image in my head for the next time I start doing this to myself mentally!