Self-hatred . . . is the dominant malaise crippling Christian people and stifling their growth in the Holy Spirit. Psychiatrist friends . . . have shared with me the pandemic of clients tormented by intense feelings of guilt, shame, remorse, and self-punishment.

The melancholy spirit of Chekhov's plays &mdasj; "you are living badly, my friend" — haunts the American conscience. The disparity between our ideal and our real self; the grim spectre of past infidelities; the awareness that I am not living what I believe, that I am not all I ought to be, that I am not measuring up to others' expectations regarding demeanor and lifestyle; the relentless pressure of conformity; the midlife oppression of what I had hoped to become versus what I have actually become; . . . alcoholism, workaholism, mounting addicting behaviors across the board, and an alarming suicide rate indicate the magnitude of the problem.

Brennan Manning, A Glimpse of Jesus