“The second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
-Mark 12:31a NKJV
We may have heard this verse countless times. Message: Love others.
But what about the part that talks about ourselves? I mean, do we love ourselves? It may seem a trivial question, but if we don’t love ourselves and are constantly putting ourselves down, it morphs the relevance of this verse.
The thing is, it’s easy to find the principle of loving others in the Bible. Whilst we may struggle with that, we still know that God desires that for our lives. But what about loving ourselves? A lot of these verses, which talk about loving others as ourselves, are written presuming that the readers do love themselves.
Yet there are tons of verses about self-love. Self-love as an unhealthy self-esteem. Many times it is pride, arrogance and superiority, often combated in the Bible. Along with that, humility is encouraged. Perhaps this is where a misunderstanding lies; that to be humble, we have to think little of ourselves.
Pride and humility has been the topic of many Bible studies and sermons, but what about the in-between? Maybe part of the reason we beat ourselves up is because we think that’s the attitude God wants us to have?
That’s not the case. There is a big difference between humility and self-condemnation. Let me explain.
Humility is not an attitude of self-hate and belittlement.
The whole point of humility is to allow God into our lives. If we didn’t think we had a problem, why would we need God? Humility is not a negative thing, but a positive. With humility we are aware of our flaws, and so we open that part of our life up to God. That capability is given to us so that God can work through our messes in life and create something beautiful. God is gentle and always gives us the choice; He won’t force His will on us. We have to invite Him, and humility is what makes us aware of where we need to invite Him into.
Self-condemnation is totally different. In fact, it’s just what Satan will use to make us feel terrible about ourselves. Self-condemnation will bring self-hate, shame and guilt where humility will bring hope, life and love. It will tell us we are not enough or to give up, where humility will tell us to hold on and that there is hope around the corner.
I’d like to expand on this topic and write a series on how to have a healthy self-esteem. But in the meantime, let’s ask ourselves next time we self-reflect , if we’re doing so in humility, or if we’re self-condemning.
Sarah Tinning – Column: Living With a Positive Mindset
Sarah is a 18-year-old, living in Australia. She loves God, her family, singing, writing songs and novels, and playing guitar. She enjoys meeting up with friends, and just putting a smile on people’s faces; even better, making them laugh! She blogs about books, movies, music, and life at www.foreveraspiringwriter.wordpress.com