Matthew 22:37-39 Jesus said: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’”
In this passage from Matthew, there are important commands about loving God and loving others. But what I want to highlight is the phrase ‘love your neighbour as yourself’. This implies we need to love ourselves. Something that we can find hard to do as we battle with self-esteem and negative self-talk. I don’t mean we need to love ourselves in a selfish, narcissistic way. We are still to put others first and act with humility. But the reason why it is important to learn to love ourselves is because of who we are in God, because God made us in his image, because we are fearfully and wonderfully made, because when God made man and woman he declared it as good, because the Bible tells us he takes great delight in us. Our security stems from our identity as children of God. It is about recognising our worth.
We run a course for women looking at issues of identity and self esteem and one of our leaders was sharing with the group how her friend had been dumped by a boyfriend. The leader went on to say how she told her things like “well what do you expect, you have let yourself go lately, you’re not exactly the most scintillating person to be around, and there are a lot more women out there who are a better catch.” The women in our group were horrified that she would say such a thing to a friend! Until she revealed that the friend was indeed herself. This is the language that she spoke over herself. We would never dream of saying that to a friend, so why do we say such damaging things to ourselves, not acknowledging our worth and value. It is important to recognise our worth, and to love others in the same way.
How can you love and value yourself today? How can you speak to yourself in the way that God would speak to you? Remember that you are worth it.
Adapted from Thought of The Day, Premier Radio, 12/2/19, written by Carolyn Skinner