My 52-year-old friend recently said to me, “You know what I’ve been learning the past few months, Diane? I have been wonderfully made and wonderfully re-created in Christ.”
I celebrated this recognition of truth with her because for years, she has struggled with self-love.
She has been reminded many times that, although blemished by sin, she has been wonderfully made and still partially manifests the moral image of God. She has been encouraged with biblical truth declaring that, although bombarded with debilitating lies from our culture, she has many abilities and has endless potential. She has been loved well by many.
So, why has she struggled so much with self-love? Why do so many Christians struggle with self-love?
I learned many years ago that the view of yourself (your self-image) influences the value placed on yourself; and the value placed on yourself (your self-worth) directly contributes to the degree that you love yourself. (self-love)
Self-love is biblical. Jesus said, “Love your neighbour as yourself.” (Matthew 22.39)
Self-love is loving oneself in humility before God.
I think that many Christians have a warped idea of humility.
Years ago, I was attending a young mom’s group and in frustration, a woman began to cry and blurted out, “What’s wrong with this picture? As a Christian, I’m not supposed to take any credit if my kids turn out well — otherwise, I would be proud and boastful. But if my kids don’t turn out well, I’m supposed to take all the blame.” There was a heavy silence. She “hit the nail on the head” and many moms nodded their heads in agreement.
The truth is that the two distortions of self-worth — feelings of prideful superiority or debasing inferiority — are equally wrong and neither express a true estimate of oneself.
Sometimes, it takes a long time to understand, accept, apply, be thankful for and celebrate the beauty and simplicity of biblical truth.
We are loved . . .
We are to love ourselves . . .
. . . and only then, are we free to love others well.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful, I know that full well. Psalm 139.14 NIV