Self-Love. Self-Confidence. Self-Inflation.
Are they one and the same?
Jesus said, “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” (Matt. 22:39b) The context of this verse is the Pharisees confronting Jesus with the intent of tempting Him. Their question was which commandment in the law was the greatest. (verse 36) Of course, Jesus summed it up by stating that we should love God with all that we have and love our neighbors as well. If we love others like we love ourselves, we will treat them well. We will treat them like we want to be treated.
However, this love that Jesus speaks of is not some self-worship or self-inflation. That is idolatry. Strong’s Concordance describes this kind of love this way: “of persons: to welcome, to entertain, to be fond of, to love dearly.” Jesus is emphasizing not only the idea of being fond of and loving ourselves, but He’s also adding to it by stating that we should treat others in the same way.
But, what if you hate yourself? What then? Is it possible to love your neighbor if you don’t even love yourself?
I don’t think so. There is a self-hate and self-loathing that occurs which completely debilitates the hater. It gives them no capacity for sharing love with others. For if your tank isn’t full, you can’t pull from it to give to other people.
If you have ever been down this path (as I have), you will find that your view of others is tainted. It is easier to be more judgmental of them, especially in the areas you hate about yourself. It is very difficult to look at them like Jesus does. It is difficult because the focus has shifted from Jesus to ourselves. And that’s always bad news. We make ourselves the measuring stick.
We are to love ourselves and look at ourselves like Jesus does.
Which path will you take: love or hate?
1. Blue Letter Bible. “Dictionary and Word Search for agapaō (Strong’s 25)“. Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2013. 25 Feb 2013. < http:// www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?