Jesus taught us to love others as we love ourselves. Let’s take a minute and stop to think about that. How do we love ourselves? Most people don’t love themselves very well at all. Of course, I know people who think way too highly of themselves. Some are selfish and think the whole world revolves around them. But more often, I find that people are their own worst critics and are at times downright mean to themselves. We say things to ourselves that we would never dream of saying to others. What would happen if we said to others what we say to ourselves? Why is it ok to say these hurtful things to ourselves, then?
We might be tempted, as a kind of solution, to switch the words of Christ, “Love yourself the way you love others.” Don’t say anything to yourself that you wouldn’t say to others. That is a start, but it is not the solution (and changing Scripture is pretty much not a good thing). How about this? “Don’t say anything about yourself that God would not say about you.” Jesus has called you (Matt 4:19-20), you are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139), God knows the plans He has for you (Jer 29:11). He knows the number of hairs on your head (Luke 12:7) and knows your needs and hears you when you pray (Matt 6:32-33).
The world says the solution to insecurity and low self-worth is to ignore your faults and just love yourself. “Be a little selfish, think about yourself first,” we are told. This is not God’s plan. Rather – He calls you to stare at your shortcomings, and realize they are forgiven. They are not ignored, they are put on the Cross. And if He has carried them, you do NOT need to carry them any more. Let go of your false guilt – that is just an idol that you might be worshiping. False humility is another form of pride – because you are paying attention to yourself and worshiping your false humility. True humility is staring at God, and shining. This is God’s solution to our insecurity – we find our identity in Him – forgiven and made whole. We can let go of the lies we have believed about ourselves. We find our worth in Him – not that we are so great, but that we are forgiven and loved. He considered you worth dying for, who are you to disagree with Him? As you believe His love for you, your self-worth grows. It does not start with self-love, but accepting God’s perfect and unending love for you, and loving yourself with that redefined, secure love. It is not based on your actions, but His love – and is eternally secure.
Learn to love yourself with His love. Then love others as you love yourself.