Healthy friendships are loving, supportive, respectful, and honest. We enjoy spending time with each other. Oftentimes, when we are discouraged, it is a friend who comes along and makes us laugh or gives us reassurance and hope.
A true friend will not sabotage your dreams or be happy about your struggles. Healthy people do not tolerate a friend who continually makes them feel worse with critical remarks and ridicule.
Yet, that very behavior is not only tolerated, but too often accepted, when it comes from our own inner voice. Barbs of criticism are mistakenly identified as “humility”, or even, appallingly, “the conviction of the Lord”.
Do you qualify to be your own best friend?
Or do you strive to earn your love?
The Commands to Love
Jesus taught that of all the commandments, two were the greatest.
“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.” ~ Matt 22:36-40 NAS
These are readily acknowledged by believers as foundational to the Christian life.
However, Jesus said to love other people as yourself. This part is often glossed over, as though it were a given that loving ourselves is something everyone naturally does.
Not true. Even among believers.
Do You Love You?
Loving yourself is not being prideful. It is actually a point of humility to obey the Lord in this.
It is obeying the 2nd greatest commandment. In light of this, apply these truths towards how you treat yourself.
“Love is patient, love is kind … does not take into account a wrong suffered,… does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth;… believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails;” ~ taken from 1 Cor 13:4-8
Certainly, you have flaws and need improvement, but that is part of being human! It’s no excuse not to treat yourself with patience, kindness, forgiveness, and respect.
You may say, “But I know how I am. I don’t measure up! I’m too this, I’m not that, I did something I shouldn’t have, etc.”
Let these truths liberate you:
You can grow! You can change!
Almighty God, who knows absolutely everything about you, inside and out, loves you, and invites you to imitate Him in love!
Permission to Love You
When we understand that God is love, and that He longs to flood us with His love, the outflow will not only encompass love for God and other people, but love for ourselves.
Love is like an river; it is meant to flow to us and through us.
How? Love is first of all received.
“We love, because He first loved us.” ~1 John 4:19 NAS
Drawing affection, acceptance, forgiveness, and comfort from the Lord, in appreciation for Who He is and what He has done for us, will work to bring a deeper healing and a fresh confidence as His beloved child.
“See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are…” ~ 1 John 3:1
It is true humility to obey His Word, trusting that “if God loves me, I can accept that and also love myself, flawed and imperfect as I am”.
You were born to be loved — by God, by others, and also by YOU.
- Recommended Reading: