Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Love yourself?

I often hear people say, "You can't love others until you love yourself."  Love of one's self is encouraged, and expected for a healthy mindset.  The logic is, if you don't love yourself, you won't respect your own self worth, or take care of yourself, or be able to value anyone else.  You won't think you deserve anything good, so you will let people abuse you, and take advantage of you. 

Honestly, I don't disagree with the basic premise. When someone hates themselves, wants to hurt themselves, and goes about to destroy their own lives and bodies, it is evidence that something is wrong.  It is not normal or natural to live in self-loathing, or for a human to have a wish to end or ruin their own life.  Normal humans feed, adorn, bathe, and cherish their own bodies without even thinking they are doing something loving for themselves, but caring for the needs of someone is the surest way to love them.  We entertain ourselves, and try to protect ourselves from harm, and hurt.  These are all actions of self-love.  Even people with no respect for themselves will snatch their hand away from an open flame.  Why would someone do that if there was no love for themselves in their lives?

I do have a problem with the statement, "You can't love others until you learn to love yourself."  What's my beef with that?  It's the focus of that statement.  It is completely absent of God and His love.  Why is this important?  It's important because God's love blasts any little love we might have for ourselves to smithereens.1   You can never take God's love for us out of an equation and have a complete picture of reality.  And reality is this; our true value, as God values us, is beyond our own comprehesion.

A biblical point of view gives us a complete picture of ourselves.  In the mirror of God's Word, we see that we are born in sin,2 something abominable to God, but that He took upon Himself our own nature so that He could bear the payment for our sins on His body.3 This shows us that God's value for us was His own blood.  When we see that truth, a poor self-image is just a lie we believe, and so is self-importance and pride. Truth?  I am precious to God.  I can love myself with all my might and main, but I could never love myself like He does.  And the focus of the Bible, the greatest commandment in the Bible, is not to love myself with all my might.  It's to love Him with all my might.4  Why?  Because His love is enough.

For many of us, the problem comes when we look at our faults and failures, we often read our own worth through them.  God has given us something to do with our faults, and it is not ignore them, pretend they don't exist, or pretend they don't matter. (I believe that's called denial) God never valued me based on my goodness.  If that were true, He would have tossed me out a long time ago.  He values me because of Who He is, He saved me from my sin because of His love for me, and the more I know Him, the more peace and confidence I can have about my position before Him.

I am so thankful for the love of my God!  His love is worthy of being talked about, lifted up, and researched.  During this month, when we are seeing little lacy hearts everywhere, and eating cute, pastel, heart-shaped candy, remember God's love for you, and how precious you are to Him.

1.)  1Jn 4:9  In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. 
2.)  Rom 3:23  For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;  
3.)  2Co 5:21  For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
4.)  Mark 12:30  And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.

1 comment:

Julie said...

So true. There is not a one of us that doesn't love themself. That's our chief problem with God, He can't get in because we are so willing to get ourselves out of the way.