The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” – Mark 12:31
It’s officially one of the greatest commandments, but what do the words, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” mean to you (Mark 12:31)? Think about it: How do you love your neighbors? Is it through:
- Honoring your commitments?
- Helping them when they need it?
- Supporting them in reaching their goals?
- Listening without criticizing?
- Demonstrating respect?
- Showing them compassion, grace, and mercy?
Of course, doing all of these things makes you a fantastic neighbor, but what about the rest of the commandment? It doesn’t stop at “love your neighbor,” but we tend to forget that. In full, it’s “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Let me say that again. Love your neighbor. As. Your. Self.
So what does that mean? It means you have to love yourself in order to love your neighbor. No worries, God’s not insisting that you arrogantly put yourself first, at the expense of others. That’s not love at all. That’s all pride and ego. I mean the real kind of love – Godly, gracious, fruit-bearing love.
So, let’s do a self-talk check-in to find out how well you love yourself.. On any given day, how do you talk to yourself? Most of my life, my internal monologue included some pretty horrible things. Sometimes, it still does, but through God’s grace, I am learning to shut it down. I can almost guarantee you’ve told yourself some of these awful “I am” and “I am not _____ enough,” statements, too: (Fill in the blank: good, pretty, smart, kind, funny, brave, yada yada yada).
I am too heavy.
I am too Thin.
I am selfish.
I don’t deserve any success in life.
I might as well not do things because I’ll fail at them anyway.
I am a terrible mom/wife/friend/employee.
I am not likable.
Also, if I made a mistake or did anything less than perfect, I’d rub my own nose in it over, and over, and over, dwelling on it until I was sure it was indicative of my overall character.
If you’re doing that, STOP IT!!
My question is this: Was I being a good neighbor to myself? Are you? Would you ever dream of talking to your neighbor that way? Reneging on the commitments you made to them? Not supporting them in their goals? Telling them to give up before they start because they’re going to fail anyway? Verbally abusing them for their lack of perfection? Would you criticize your neighbor until you paralyzed them with guilt, fear, and anxiety? Would you call them ugly? You get my point. This self-abuse – and that’s precisely what it is – has got to stop. It’s not based on God’s truth, but in the enemy’s lies. Don’t do the enemy’s work for him!
For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. – Ephesians 2:10
So, how do you stop it? First, it’s imperative to rebuke those lies by replacing or canceling them out with what God says about you. Fill in your “I am ________” with God’s truth. I am loved (Romans 5:8). I am forgiven (Ephesians 2:4-9). I am a child of God (John 1:22). I am a work in progress (Titus 3:4-7). I am fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:16). I am God’s masterpiece (Ephesians 2:10).
God created you. He paid attention to the littlest details. He carefully, lovingly, and intentionally designed you exactly as you are, and he has plans for you (Jeremiah 29:11). To heal your heart, you must feed it the truth, which is this: God loves and cherishes you. He believes you deserve to be loved. Stop beating yourself up and start treating yourself like the beloved, cherished creation you are.
Show yourself some grace, compassion, and forgiveness! Focus on His love and pray that He corrects your thoughts and helps you recognize when you’re spiraling. Remember: your weaknesses provide him the opportunity to help you grow and flourish because God can’t pour into a cup that is already full. So, release those “imperfections” to God and allow Him to work in your life.
Choose to believe the Truth of His Word instead of the lies you tell yourself. You need to extend yourself the love, grace, mercy, compassion, and kindness you are commanded to offer to others. After all, following that commandment in its entirety means including yourself in the equation. Make sure the overflow you pour into yourself and others reflects the goodness, kindness, love, and neighborliness of God.
Prayer – God, I know you say I am your masterpiece, but sometimes it’s hard for me to believe it. I pray for you to help me overcome my doubts and negative self-talk. Please open my heart to receive the truth of Your love for me. Guide me believe in the promises You made and help me understand that You are for me. Let me be a reflection of you and lead me to be a better neighbor to everyone, including myself. Amen.
I hope this helped! If so please leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you! If you know someone who is struggling with self-worth or negative self-talk, please share,
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