We’ve all heard them, the voices, telling us we’re not good enough, perhaps even not worthy of love. Whether they come from our culture, our families or ourselves, they can weaken and discourage us and even make our lives quite miserable.
Some well-intended people have decided to fight back, and a new trend was born. It’s especially visible in the self-help section of book stores and on social media. Some Christians have even adopted it. What is it? It’s the message that we are perfect just the way we are. Frankly, is it really helping?
The Pride Issue
Thinking we are perfect is opposite to what the Bible teaches. We are not perfect and we know it. The best of us are full of flaws, pretty flawful actually … if only that term existed. Thinking we are good enough on our own leads to pride. Good news! We don’t need to be “good enough” anyway because of the sacrifice of Christ on the cross. God makes us good enough through Jesus. We have to recognize our shortcomings and we must live by the truth that in spite of it all, Jesus thinks we are to die for. Through Him we are made right before God and that’s the best we will ever get. We don’t even have to work for it Because He loves us that much. Wow.
The Image Bearer
That said, we cannot reject the idea of loving ourselves even if some legalists would like for us to do so. It will make you more pious, they said… We are invited to hate what’s not of God and whatever we place higher than Him. Yet, how could we think He wants us to hate what He so tenderly loves? We have been made in His image. Every single one of us has been created in the image of God. We carry His image wherever we go. There is dignity and power in that. It has nothing to do with one being a Christian or not. We get right with God by believing in Jesus and what He did, but we are priceless image bearers by birth. When we begin to see ourselves the way God sees us and to love ourselves better, the way we love others also improves.
Your Body, My Body, Everybody
Our bodies cannot be taken out of the equation. It’s a significant portion of who we are and God’s design for us. I know God’s Word speaks against the flesh but I’m pretty sure it has more to do with our earthly desires than with actual flesh and bones. The Bible tells us that we do not wrestle against flesh and bones, it does not only apply to those who persecute us, it also applies to ourselves. We do not wrestle against ourselves, we discipline ourselves with love for God’s creation.
When I was pregnant with my daughter, I began appreciating my body in a way I never did before. I realized how good it is to me instead of seeing it as an enemy to be subdued. Then it dawned on me that I had sinned against God since He made that body of mine and I had been at war with it for so long. I’m grateful I no longer have to live under my own condemnation.
We ought to be graceful towards ourselves and others, not just others. What does it look like? One way I stopped abusing myself, is by never getting another tattoo or piercing. I was a tattoo addict and when I gave my life to Jesus, I was desperate to get a Bible verse tattooed to express my new-found faith on my body. As I was flipping through pages of Scripture, I heard the Holy Spirit tell me: I want you to stop hurting yourself. That was it, I broke in tears and repented. I have nothing against tattoos, but I personally don’t think I’ll ever get another one.
Another personal experience has been to be patient with myself and change my internal monologue from “what are you doing, you dummy” to “oh, baby girl! You’ll do better next time.” As a by-product, I become more graceful towards others.
What are ways you could stop hurting yourself and become more loving and gracious to yourself, you, precious son and daughter of the Almighty God? Could you stop drinking? Do you eat unhealthy? Do you drive recklessly? How would make changes this help you love others better? Let us know in the comments below so we can pray for one another!