How to Recover From Self-Condemnation

“Your own mouth condemns you, and not I; yes, your own lips testify against you.”—Job 15:6 (NKJV)

A person can’t read the first few chapters of Job without thinking, “Whoa . . . poor Job.” The man lost nearly everything—property, health, family. He was left with a contentious wife and some rather pernicious friends who counseled Job as to why calamity had befallen him, charging his own sin as the cause. All the while, Job maintained a clear conscience (Job 33:8–10).

Job’s friends get a bad rap for how they “counsel” Job. By all rights, they should. They misrepresented God’s actions (Job 42:7). But amid all their advice is today’s verse with a very complex word tucked inside—condemn. The word condemn here (rasha) means “Wicked; to act wickedly; condemn as guilty.” Job’s friend Eliphaz was behind those words. Basically, he called Job a pious blowhard, implying Job’s estimation of himself was self-condemning, and he was not a God-fearing man.

To a degree, this was true. Job did overstate his righteousness, justifying himself rather than God (Job 32:2). It boils down to this: Job questioned God’s sovereignty and character without putting his full faith in what God was doing. Eliphaz was right—Job’s own lips condemned him.

This area of Scripture was a huge learning curve for me. I learned that self-condemnation isn’t just putting myself down, it can also mean elevating myself to a position meant only for God. I am terribly guilty of thinking I know what’s best for me (a form of pride) and not trusting God (a form of fear). The cost of both isn’t just life-altering for me but for those in my life. Like any sin, self-condemnation has a ripple effect, just ask the men on the boat with Jonah (Jonah 1:12).

So what can I do—what can anyone do—to avoid self-condemnation? It’s so simple: ask for God’s forgiveness and help. Borrow David’s cry as a prayer for yourself: “See if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139:24 NKJV). This was David trusting God’s perfect knowledge of him and asking God to discern the motives of his heart.

Job once asked, “Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean?” We know: JESUS! Faith in Christ means that all condemnation, whether through others, the enemy, or ourselves, is vindicated (Romans 8:1, 33–34). Because, like , we know our Redeemer lives, and He’s at work in our lives until that day when He returns.

Dig: Take some time to do a word search on the word condemn. Notice how it is used in the Old Testament compared with the New Testament.

Discover: What are the different ways we can self-condemn? It can mean different ideas. What’s your experience with this word?

Display: Both Job and Jonah experienced great revival in their lives once they put their whole trust in God. Is there anything in your life you want to give to God to experience this same kind of restoration? Ask the Lord to search your heart and do a work in you

About the Author

Lisa Supp

Lisa Supp lives in Utah and has served within the CCFL Web and Prayer Ministry since 2011. She also volunteers as an editor on the CCFL Prayer Wall and is a writer on the Communications Team. Retired from teaching, Lisa and her husband Ron volunteer at their local Calvary Chapel and share a passion for Scripture, apologetics, and education.