Understanding Self-Destruction

“For whoever finds me finds life
and receives favor from the Lord.
But those who miss me injure themselves.
All who hate me love death.”  

Proverbs 8:35-36

“There are seeds of self-destruction in all of us that will bear only unhappiness if allowed to grow.”  Dorothea Brande

“When the beginnings of self-destruction enter the heart it seems no bigger than a grain of sand.”   John W. Cheever

“If one looks with a cold eye at the mess man has made of history, it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that he has been afflicted by some built-in mental disorder which drives him towards self-destruction.”   Arthur Koestler 


 Among people with a mental illness, there is a sort of impulsivity, and in advanced cases we can see a ‘self-destructive behavior‘.  We do things, superficially we recognize and even assert that it is detrimental, but we will continue to do it regardless.  Those ‘in the know around us’ can’t believe what we are doing. It is totally irrational.

Bipolar, schizophrenia, and many other mental illnesses have impulsivity as a common aspect of their disease processes.

  • We drink,
  • do drugs,
  • do pornography, strippers
  • tattoo ourselves,
  • cut ourselves,
  • misuse our credit cards (and go deeply in debt)
  • get crazy at rock concerts,
  • and much more.

We are impulsive and we do things that a healthy person would never do.  We consistently choose the worst things and we can’t seem to stop ourselves.

We are the ‘wild childs’, we just seem to thrive on the edge of destruction, repeatedly.  This is in spite of the consequences.  We just don’t worry about the side-effects of our choices.  We don’t think ahead, all we think is of the moment.  We consistently choose what is really bad for us, and then throw ourselves headlong into the darkness.  We can’t seem to stop.  The more we do these terrible things, the wilder it seems to get.

I can say this because I have a personal issue with ‘self-destruction’.  You might say I have a ‘Masters degree’ in it.  I have gotten very proficient at it, and have utilized deception to cover my tracks.  So much of my life is hidden and I seem to float my darkness out in such a way as to diffuse questions and to excuse awful nasty behavior.

Being impulsive/self-destructive is a hard life in many ways.  We cultivate an image to others that we have really never attained.  We are very good at deception, we have discovered how to do and say what we want without others “getting in our faces.”  A great deal of trickery is sent out over those in ‘the know’.  Being impulsive, ready to step into the most pleasurable darkness, becomes something we must cover up, at all costs. But Proverbs 6:27 tells us,

“Can a man scoop a flame into his lap
    and not have his clothes catch on fire?”

Am I secretly drinking, doing drugs or using sex (esp. in pornography)?  The impulses that drive us to do this stuff will become the way we experience destruction, but somehow we don’t seem to get it.  The mentally ill have a horrendous rate of alcoholism and addiction.  I’ve seen figures that put us at 80% that have significant issues.  We seem to be ‘self-medicating’ ourselves to escape, or trying to get some stability.

When we come to Jesus, we discover that He loves us completely, including our ‘hidden side’.  His love comes to us without any conditions.  We are free to do whatever we want.  However, we will find that ‘sin accepted’ is very brutal to us.  Smashing out heads against a brick wall, over and over, doesn’t make the wall any softer.  And yet we continue to do the most foolish thing we can do, and then we–  REPEAT.

There is a way out of this.  But few will try doing it.  Its called ‘public confession’.  We take it all ‘airborne’.  We get it out into the open, where the sun shines.  We choose not to live out our lives in secretiveness. We must learn the skills of transparency, as we lay out our evil, our deception for the church to see. When we deceive others, we will end up deceiving ourselves.  We absolutely cannot continue a life in darkness, or in long-term sin.


ybic, Bryan



Author: Pastor Bryan Lowe

A repentant rascal with definite issues, but who is seeking to be authentic in his faith to Jesus Christ. An avid reader and a hopeful writer. Husband and father. A pastor and Bible teacher. A brain tumor survivor. Diagnosed with clinical depression, and now disabled. Enjoys life, such as it is, in Alask.a (Actually I have it pretty good.)

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