Do Yourself a Favor and Love Yourself

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You can be sure you’re loving yourself in the right way when you love others more as a result.

Bible Reading: Matthew 22:34-40

Love your neighbor as yourself. Matthew 22:39

THEY’RE OUT THERE. They think you don’t see them. But you do. And it makes you gag. Unless you happen to be one of them…

  • A guy struts in front of a locker room mirror and flexes and poses like he’s Mr. World Champion Bodybuilder.

  • A girl pauses to admire herself in a shopping mall window. She fluffs her hair, then lays a lip print on her reflection.

  • A guy won’t shut up about how great and tough he is.

  • A girl splashes her bedroom walls with blown-up photos of herself modeling all her outfits.

When the Bible commands you to love others like you love yourself, that’s not exactly what God meant. Yes, there’s a healthy kind of self-love, but bragging about your greatness or being infatuated with your looks is conceit, not love.

Matthew 22:39 implies that you won’t love others in the right way unless you love yourself in the right way. Is that okay? Look at it this way: God loves you, so you can love yourself. God accepts you, so you can accept yourself. God cherishes you as his unique creation, so you can cherish yourself. Liking yourself like that isn’t just okay, it’s great. It’s what God wants.

Seeing yourself as God sees you—no more or no less—is a healthy self-image. That’s an uplifting thing. It’s also a humbling thing—because you recognize that every gift you possess comes from the Lord Jesus Christ.

Another kind of self-image is unhealthy. An unhealthy self-image can be either negative or positive. People with a negative self-image get down on themselves. People with a positive self-image get high on themselves. What warps these two views is their reliance on the world’s system of value and worth-that what matters most about you is your looks, abilities, intelligence, possessions, etc. When you think well of yourself based on the world’s standards, you easily slide into pride.

You can be sure you’re loving yourself in the right way when you love others more as a result. And when you make loving others your goal, everything then falls into place. Life—and liking yourself—makes sense. You put others, beginning with Christ, smack at the center of your attention. And when that happens, God is pleased.

REFLECT: Describe in your own words a healthy self-image.

PRAY: Father, teach me to love myself in the right way so I’ll love others as a result.

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