“And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'” (Matthew 22:39)
When God saves you, He positions you “in Christ”. From that moment on, He views you as being righteous. Not because of your “own righteousness … but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God” (Philippians 3:9).
When you are growing up, your parents may have given you the impression that if you were good enough they would love and accept you. As a result, you think God feels the same way about you. But He doesn’t. In truth, you could never be good enough to earn God’s love; that’s why He clothes you in Christ’s righteousness and says, “I love you unconditionally in spite of all your faults.” Now you have a true basis for loving yourself!
Think: if God loves you then you are worthy of loving, right? That means you can love yourself! And in fact, you must, because you can only give love to others from the wellspring of your own self-esteem. If you wrestle with insecurity, guilt, self-doubt, and self-loathing, eventually it will manifest itself in your relationships.
Swiss psychologist Paul Tournier said: “If a person will love God the way he ought to … he will then love others the way he ought to … and when he loves God and others the way they ought to be loved, he will never need a psychiatrist.” God’s love gives you a mental image of yourself that enables and empowers you to give and receive love from others.
The truth is, if you had been the only sinner who ever lived, Christ would have died for you. And when that truly dawns on you, you’ll start to love yourself and develop into the fullness of your God-given potential.
Heavenly Father, thank You for Your love for me because of Jesus, so that I can love others in the same way — unconditionally. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.