How Should You Love Yourself?

Jesus summarizes God’s law in this way, “Love you neighbor as yourself.”  Ordinarily, this is a high bar because we do watch out for ourselves due to a natural self-centeredness.  This is not always the case, however.

Many people do not love themselves.  A self-critical loop plays in their head:  “You’re not good enough”, “You’re too stupid or fat or ugly”, “You can’t be forgiven for what you have done.”  That kind of self-talk comes from enduring too much external criticism, or failure, or rejection, or sometimes even Satan himself.  It makes people miserable at best, and suicidal at worst.

The summation of the commandments given above might be modified like this to catch the full meaning of God’s law, “Love your neighbor and yourself.”  God surely loves both.  God’s love is not based on appearance, accomplishments or even adherence to His law.  God’s love is based on God’s choice to love, and He has chosen to love humans–every last one of us.  True, there is a lot to not love about people and our behaviors.  God isn’t simply winking at human behavior.  But He loves us in a unique way among all the species He has created in Heaven and Earth.  The Son of God became one of us.  Jesus represents us before God; and for those who take up His promise of forgiveness and eternal life, Jesus creates a reason to love yourself that is not selfishness.

The ultimate value of a human life is the value God places on it.  That value is sky high, because Jesus willingly endured the penalty of our sins and failures on the cross.  He did so out of pity (We didn’t have complete control of our destiny from birth), and He did so because of what we are (We still share many aspects of God Himself), and He did so because of what we will be.

In connection to Jesus, our potential raises sky high.  Even during this life, and even if we are not a shining example of success as a human, God can work through us to do “beyond what we can ask, or even imagine” (Eph. 3:20).  What is accomplished through God may not be what society values, but it is what God values and will reward in eternity.

Then there is the matter of what we will be in Heaven and eventually in the New Earth.  Our current self is very much damaged by sin and the curse.  Sinful nature adds a number of undesirable qualities.  The curse adds to our failures and failings (both physical and mental).  God will restore us to our ideal self.  There is a person who will be beautiful, healthy, God-loving, people loving, fun, and still uniquely you.  You will be that person if you hang on to Jesus.

God loves that person as He loves you now.  You should do the same.  If you love yourself as God loves you, then also “Love your neighbor as yourself.”  They share the same potential.

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