Do You Love Yourself?
When it comes to loving ourselves, I think society is like a field of extremes. We either really, really “love” ourselves or we don’t really love ourselves at all. The worldly ways in our culture has foiled love so much, that we have a difficult time talking about love or even defining love. What is love? Who should we love? Is it right to love? Is it wrong to love? Is that love? Do they really love me? Am I really showing love?
I don’t know about you, but if someone asks me if I love myself, I am not sure how to answer. The question itself can even feel uncomfortable. I was always under the impression that loving yourself was wrong.
Is it Wrong to Love Yourself?
So, is it wrong to love yourself? After all, the world tells us to “look out for number one” or “you have to love yourself, because nobody else will”. Sound familiar? And, we all know that worldly ways are not God’s ways. So, if the world tells us to love ourselves, it must be wrong, right?
Jesus Tells us to Love Others as Ourselves in Mark 12:31
In Mark 12:31 (KJV), Jesus tells us “…thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. …” God wants us to love ourselves. Jesus didn’t say, “Love your neighbor instead of yourself” or “love your neighbor better than yourself”. He said to “love your neighbor ‘as’ yourself”.
Most of us look at Mark 12:31 for the benefit of loving others. Yet, it is also helpful in knowing that we need to love ourselves as well. Jesus is telling us to love all of God’s children equally, including ourselves.
Why Do We Have Hesitation and Confusion about Loving Ourselves?
Why do we have hesitation and confusion about loving ourselves? I believe it is from being in the world so much, maybe focusing on the world too much, and not focusing on God. The message of “loving ourselves” is something that seems like we hear from the world and also from God, so we get confused. However, thankfully, we know from 1 Corinthians 14:33 that “God is not the author of confusion”.
Our confusion comes from the world and the distorted worldly views about love. Some of us, through living it or hearing about it can think about the 1960’s and see how love was distorted by the world. Even society’s term “making love” is distorted thinking. We don’t “make love”. God is love and we don’t make God. God made us.
Like I said, before there are other distorted sayings by the world that often confusing to us, such as “Look out for number one”. When the world says this, they mean we should love ourselves, protect ourselves, and make gains for ourselves regardless of what it means to God or to others. Yet, “the number one” is God, not ourselves. We are to love God with our whole beings. Without God we are nothing.
At first glance, in our modest knowledge of God’s Word, we might think that many verses kind of tell us not to love ourselves. We see verses that tell us to “love others”, to “lay down our life for others”, to “encourage others”, and to “forgive others”. With our limited understanding, we might think that we are to love others instead of ourselves. Yet, none of these things equate to us not loving ourselves or loving ourselves any less than others.
Maybe we see a verse like Philippians 4:2 (KJV) that says “Look not every man on his own things, but also every man on the things of others” and think that means we should love others instead of ourselves. Yet, again, loving others, does not equate to not loving ourselves.
Probably, our confusion comes from spending too much time within the world. It could be that we know we are sinners, so we don’t feel we deserve to be loved by ourselves or by anyone else. Maybe we think we believe that we are of the world, because of our sinfulness. In 1 John 2:15 KJV it says, “Love not the world, neither things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” So, because of our sinful ways, the ways of the world, we may internally think of ourselves as “in the world” or “of the world” and therefor should not be loved.
How Does God Want You to Love Yourself?
We may also not know how to love ourselves. We may be confused in how to love ourselves without feeling sinful, wrong, selfish, pompous, or self-righteous. Those are worldly ways of looking at love.
However, let us not forget about the “as” in Mark 12:31. In Mark 12:31 Jesus tell us to love our neighbors as ourselves. So, couldn’t we say that everything God asks us to do for others He also asks us to do for ourselves? God asks us to love others, so God asks us to love ourselves. God asks us to encourage others, so God asks us to encourage ourselves. God asks us to forgive others, so God asks us to forgive ourselves. Again, I believe God wants us to treat all His children equally with love.
What does this look like in our daily lives? We don’t think that we are any better or worse than anyone else. We don’t think that we deserve anything more or less than anyone else. We are all God’s children, created and loved by Him, and all called to love Him and glorify Him. We are all branches. We are not the roots, or the vine, or the fruit. Our worth is not any worse or better than the worth of others.
A good example of the need to love ourselves is when we are nursing our babies. If we don’t eat the right foods and we are not well nourished, we are not giving the proper nourishment to our babies through our milk. In that case, we need to love ourselves, so that we can love others better.
A similar example might be, if we don’t take care of ourselves because we don’t love ourselves. So, if we don’t take care of ourselves and stay healthy, we might not have the energy to prevent our child from wandering into the street as a toddler. We put our child in danger, because we don’t love ourselves enough to take care of ourselves. We need to love ourselves, so we are better able to do the things He calls us to do.
Often when we don’t love ourselves, we will sabotage ourselves. It could mean as simple as sabotaging our weight goals or as drastic as sabotaging our relationship with God. We don’t need the self-sabotaging. We need to love, encourage, and forgive ourselves, just as we do for others. We are called to love, encourage, and forgive ourselves, just as we are called to love, encourage, and forgive others.
A Final Thought about Loving Ourselves
I have one last thought about loving ourselves. If we don’t love ourselves, isn’t that like rejecting God’s creation or even worse rejecting God’s child? God made us. He formed us and created us. He loved us enough to give us life. What gives us the right to not love someone or something that God created? It is like we call ourselves Christians, but how can we be followers of Jesus if we don’t love ourselves when Jesus loved us so much he gave his life for us?
Anyway friend, I hope and pray that you love God, love others, and love yourself. God bless.
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This is Jodi. I am so glad you are here! I am a Christian and life-long learner. I enjoy sharing and encouraging others. I pray you are blessed by this blog. Thank you for being here.