The scriptures say that I am to love my neighbor as I love myself (Mk. 12:31). The inverse is also true. Unless I love myself, I can’t love my neighbor. In direct proportion to my love and acceptance of myself, I will measure out love for my brother. I can’t do otherwise. God has set it up in this fashion. It is about capacity of love flow. If I pinch the conduit of love off from myself, I can’t give it to others.
This is actually a wonderful dilemma. If I could go about this world and love others while hating myself, my heart might never be dealt with. Who would ever confront me? I am making everyone else happy, all the while remaining broken in myself.
To Love Myself Makes Me a Conduit of Love
Yes, we have to be at peace within ourselves. As I stated in the other post, I am God’s gift to ME. Oh, it is so easy to judge, condemn, and criticize self as stupid, foolish or worthless. I know in the past, I have ridden myself like a kid on a carnival ride without a line – which is to say, I never let myself be. And at the same time, I was critical, judgmental and condemning of my neighbors. See, my contempt for self, spilled out on those around me.
Over time, I have seen the call to not only be at peace with myself but to befriend myself. Peace is absence of strife, but befriending is so much more. To befriend is relational. To be your own best friend makes you at ease within your world, not just at ease with yourself. Then you can be satisfied within God’s choices and circumstances.
To befriend yourself, you are set free from the endless search of finding an external source to satisfy. Another group, another person, another place, another situation. You become satisfied in your own skin.
Nothing Wants Me to Love Myself
Everything out in the world will combat this reality: commercials that tempt me to compare; media that says I have not measured up; adversaries that disdain my being; my own rebellion that wants more. All these and more set forth a counter to my embracing His sovereign choice.
So here is the secret of BFF–ing yourself: you open the door to your True BEST FRIEND, Christ. My receiving, accepting, and enjoying my self lets down my guard and opens my arms to my Creator. Resisting my person is like resisting the needle on the record—it prevents me from hearing the music. The record player is my world, the record is my life and the needle is myself. I have one option for making music with God. It is receiving His provided equipment.
So the whole purpose of embracing and befriending self is so I can open myself to Jesus. Then His love can pour forth from me towards my brother. I embrace myself, I’m involved with loving God, His love flows for me, and then through me for my brothers.
For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth.