In Matthew 22:37-40. Yeshua replied, “’ 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 neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” In my walk as a believer, I have tried to live these commandments. However, I had a huge problem loving myself. I had no idea how much this problem was hindering my relationships, not only with the people I lived with, but also my relationship with Yeshua.
The first time I encountered this revelation was when someone was praying for me and the Holy Spirit showed them that I needed to learn to love myself. Now I knew that I didn’t like myself, but when the Holy Spirit showed someone else that sin, it was very embarrassing, as well as revealing. I thought everyone said mean things to themselves, like “You are so stupid.” “What’s wrong with you?” “How come you are always saying stupid things?” Then there is the constant comparing yourself with others. “How come she is so smart, and I am so dumb?” “It’s not fair that she gets whatever she prays for and I don’t.” “Why is my life so hard?” “I must not be as spiritual as he or she is.” “I can’t pray in front of people, I can’t express myself as eloquently as (so and so).” The Holy Spirit made it very clear this was a HUGE problem in my life. It was especially evident when I allowed other people’s criticisms of me affect me so much that I would be depressed for days. I also had a very bad temper, which hindered my relationships and caused others to criticize me even more. It was a vicious cycle.
The beginning steps to learning to love myself, started one day as I was praying, and I felt the Holy Spirit say to me, “Why are you so hard yourself? Do you talk to other people, like you talk to yourself? So why are you beating yourself up? Stop the negative self-talk. Start to look for things you like about yourself. Look in the mirror every day and tell yourself that you like you, and that God loves you.”
So I started on a journey of learning to love myself. I repented of my self-hatred. I replaced the critical, negative self-talk with words of affirmation. I would look in the mirror and tell myself that I like me and what I liked about myself. It was not easy the first few times I did it, but it got easier. I read scriptures of how much God loves me, and I allowed those words to wash over me.
I am still on this journey. There are times I need to repent of comparing myself to others. Every day I thank the Father for my life, my body, which is a temple of the Holy Spirit, my family, the people who are in my life, my past, and what He is presently doing in my life. I am experiencing more joy, peace and especially love in my life. Our loving, Abba Father, knew that as we love Him with all of our hearts, mind and souls, He will fill us with love for ourselves and others. I know, because He is doing that for me.
This may be a tough one for us. It is tough for me as I am writing it. So, I confess, I tend to like joking around. Too often this can be sarcasm, which can tend to be hurtful; or it can be what some would consider vulgar. We need to be aware of the lines between fun and being hurtful or offensive; and we need to be conscious of what we are allowing ourselves to be exposed to in our lives – workplace, local community, television, theater, music, entertainment, etc.
“But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.”
(Ephesians 5:3-6, NKJV)
There are things in our lives about which we are not conscious of needing repentance. May the Lord open our eyes, and may we be obedient to confess and repent.
“Create in me a clean heart, O God; renew in me a resolute spirit.”
(Psalm 51:10, CJB)