Once Jesus was asked what the most important commandment was -
“Jesus 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.”” – Matthew 22:37-40 NIV
There are a couple of things that I want to draw attention to –
First Jesus says the second greatest command is ‘like’ the first. The original Greek word for ‘like’ means similar or resembling but it can also mean corresponding. Jesus was saying that loving your neighbor is connected to loving God. Of course He elaborated on this when he taught,
‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ – Matthew 25:40b NIV
The second point I want to make is that we are to, ‘love others as ourselves’. Here we find the foundation of the ‘Golden Rule’.
Here is where the problem lies. To truly love others as ourselves we must learn to genuinely love ourselves. Since the Fall the devil has been peddling his lies and offering a counterfeit to everything God has. Most people either have very little love for themselves or if they do it’s not the ‘agapao’ love spoken of in this verse.
The lie is that I/you/we are unlovable. That is simply not the case. You were created in God very image and so loved by Him that He traded His Son for you. I wish we could really get that to sink in to the core of our being. The lie robs us of our confidence and keeps us either isolated from others or trapped inside of destructive relational cycles. People who don’t value themselves frequently find themselves the victim of their own insecurity. True validation cannot come from an outward source, it can only come from an inward revelation of who we are in Christ.
The counterfeit to confidence is arrogance. Arrogance elevates oneself above all others seeing them as simply a means to an end - the end in this case being self. On the other end of the spectrum is false humility which whispers to us that we are less than everyone else. It may appear more ‘spiritual’ but is no less detrimental in the end. To see yourself as anything less than what God sees is to say that He made a mistake and doesn’t know what He is doing!
True confidence and humility brings everyone else up to our level as we begin to see ourselves and others as God sees us. It is from that place that we can begin to love others as Christ commanded -
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” – John 13:34-35 NIV
How we see ourselves is THE most important opinion there is because that is the one we will become. Take time today to forgive yourself, to take care of yourself and to see yourself through God’s eyes. It may seem silly but for the next seven days I would like you to start your day by looking in the mirror and telling yourself, out loud, “I love you.” Say it like you mean it and keep saying it until you believe it!
P.S. Remember that God loves you and so do I!