Do We Really Love Ourselves?
Jesus tells us that we are to – “love our neighbors as ourselves.” This is a quote from Leviticus 19:18b in the Old Testament.
While we all know the story of the Good Samaritan that defines who our neighbor is, my question is, “How much do you love yourself?”
Many will say that, of course, I love myself and there are 100’s of cliches and platitudes that can go along with that but let me ask you some tough questions:
How can you say that you love yourself if you are –
1. Hung up on an addiction to alcohol and it’s destructive forces on your body and drugs;
2. Smoking, knowing that it is slowly but surely eating away at your lungs and hurting the people around you, either directly through second hand smoke or indirectly when they lose you or you lose your health and they have to take care of you;
3. Harboring bitterness, anger and unforgiveness? These are destructive forces in your life, much like a black mold underneath a house. Bitterness, anger and unforgiveness are like roots that destroy the foundation of a house and before you know it, you’re an angry and bitter old man or old woman no one wants to be around with. It destroys your health and …. Well, I could go on but I think I have made my point.
4. Continually allowing garbage in? This happens when we allow the destructive messages of negative TV shows, music or even remain in negative situation with negative people – those that have nothing good to say about anything or anyone. When we are constantly deluged with the “garbage”, we will begin to produce garbage ourselves.
5. Abusing your body? Eating disorders (too much or not enough) and physical inactivity is killing us.
6. Accepting physical, emotional or sexual abuse? I know there is an awful lot here and many things that are way beyond the control of the one who is abused and this is not meant to be critical at all. If this is you, you may not think you’re worthy of love, so you can’t imagine loving yourself. I want to tell you that you are worthy of love – God loves you, Jesus Christ loves you and the Holy Spirit loves you and will come into your life and bring healing if you will let Him in. There is help and you are not alone. I don’t know you but I love you too!
7. Accepting the unacceptable? Maybe that is sex out of marriage or a relationship outside of marriage. Maybe for you, it is a pornography addiction that you justify because you think your needs aren’t being met. Maybe it is a situation at work where someone is harassing you and you are afraid of losing your job.
8. Living in depression? There is help but to remain and not seek help is to refuse yourself the love you deserve.
9. Allowing yourself to be bullied, while you suffer quietly and say nothing? This is rampant in schools but there is a solution.
10. Feeling pressured into doing things that you know you’re not supposed to do? This could be a bully or it could be a boyfriend who wants you to go further than what you know is right. Love yourself enough to not only say no but to walk away if the pressure continues. You deserve better than that and God has more for you than any sexual experience or fling could ever offer.
11. ______________________________________ (There are so many other examples. Why don’t you insert yours in response to this and let’s talk about it?)
The bottom line is that if you don’t love yourself very much, you can’t love others very well either. So, how do we begin to change that? What we need is a change of perspective.
Jesus says, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten son…” John 3:16
So God loves you so much He sent His Son to die for you. That is one pretty good reason to believe that you are someone special when you have given your life to Him.
Jesus tells us some thing else about ourselves: “Ye are the salt of the earth…” Matthew 5:13a
Many people don’t get that message because salt has become something we throw away and that we are told if we have too much of it we will die. But if we look at it from the perspective of Jesus in those days, we see that what He is really saying is,
“You are the most important people in the world.” See, back then, salt was a rare and precious commodity. In some areas, it was traded equally with gold. Some countries actually used it as their currency. Jesus was telling you that you really need to love yourself so that you can love others and He began by telling you that you are the most special and precious people anywhere.
Next Jesus says, “Ye are the light of the world…”
The light of the world is the most powerful force known to man – the Sun. It is more powerful than nuclear reactors. It allows us to have seasons, food and oxygen. It provides safety and guidance. The list goes on and on but the truth is that He wants you and I to know that if we are His, then we are the most special people, who are specifically empowered to do a job that no one else can do. How is that for motivation to love yourself???
Well, if that’s not enough then try this one on for size:
Paul tells us that, “For we are God’s masterpiece. He created us anew in Christ Jesus, so that we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” Ephesians 2:10 NLT
There are many other verses that call us “Child of the King, joint heirs with Christ, Kings and Royal Priests, a special people, chosen, called, gifted, healed, beautiful” …. and so much more. Armed with this information, you have every reason in the world to love yourself. You may have really messed up in your life but God can heal and transform the repentant heart and life unlike anything you can begin to imagine.
You may be asking yourself, “I’m not sure if I am His or not. How can I know that I am a child of the King?” If this is you, then write to me, either here by reply/comment or you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
If this has touched your heart and life, please share this with others. You can follow me on twitter @c_robertson_jr .
Stay tuned. The next post will coming soon…
2 Timothy 4:2,5