I have long fought against the worldly concept of loving yourself. My opinion on the matter was iron clad and tightly bolted. In my opinion, we all loved ourselves a little too much, and this was the root of so much anger, bitterness, divorce, break-downs in relationships, and even war. The problem was that everyone was looking out for numero uno. All I could see was selfishness, self-centeredness, and all the other self-selfednesses. Self-love was the base for every sin: greed, lust, pride, covetousness, lies, theft, etc. I actually felt a bit nauseous, when I heard people talk about the necessity of loving oneself.
But that has all irrevocably changed. On October 13 – 14 of this year, I was at a women’s conference in Loveland, Colorado. On Friday evening, we spent a solid hour of worship before our speaker, Havilah Cunnington, spoke on “Shaking the Dust” off our lives and hearts. “The Dust” signifies offenses. If we do not shake them off, they will follow us into the next season. She did a very good job, although I didn’t think it necessarily applied to me. At the end of the meeting, I went forward for an extended time of worship.
I began to worship fervently, my arms shot straight up, and I instantly heard that familiar Voice. He said to me, “When are you going to stop hating yourself?” I saw a picture in my mind’s eye of my life passing before me and little particles sticking to me. The particles (“The Dust”) were negative comments people had made to me over the years that I had taken hold of and believed to be true.
Let me interject here that I would never have said that I hate myself. It was a shocking thought to me, but it definitely got my attention.
The Voice that I know to be the Holy Spirit’s spoke again. “When are you going to start believing Me and who I say you are more than you believe all of the negatives that others and the enemy have said? Can you learn to love yourself in the same way, and as much as, I love you?” WOW!
“THOU SHALT LOVE THY NEIGHBOR AS THYSELF” Leviticus 19:18 and Matthew 19:19
Several years ago, I started exchanging the word “shall” with the word “will” when I read the commandments (in the dictionary, those words define each other). In doing so, I believe I can see a picture of heaven. For example, the commandment, “you shall love God with all your hearts, minds, soul, and strength” reads, “you will love the Lord your God…;” It’s no longer a command, but a simple statement of fact – “this is how it will be.” So, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” reads, “You will love your neighbor as you love yourself.”
This turns everything around! There is a godly way to love ourselves, and the fruit of that love is a greater love for our neighbor and a greater compassion for them! I am fairly sure that we will experience more love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control – the fruits of the Spirit.
I am just at the beginning of this journey. I have quite a road ahead of me, and I find myself asking Him often throughout my day, “Will You show me how to love myself like You love me?” Would you consider walking this road too? Would you daily ask the Holy Spirit, “Will You show me how to love myself as You love me?”
I can’t wait to see what He does in each of us and through each of us!
Please let me know of any truths you discover along your journey.