Loving others as yourself
Is low self esteem preventing you from loving others?
All of Jesus’ teachings can be summed up in Mark 12:28-34: “Love God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength, and love your neighbor as yourself.” When we love God fully, we can’t help but love everyone else — even the “neighbors” who make our lives difficult.
Think of the person you love the most — the one whom you gladly serve the most, whom you enjoy doing good deeds for and giving good things to. This is a reflection of your love for God. Now think of the person you love the least (note that I did not say “like the least”) — the one whom you refuse to serve because of how they have hurt you and others. This is also a reflection of your love — or lack of it — for God.
Jesus never said that we have to like doing good to our enemies. Hey, He didn’t like being whipped and manhandled and jabbed and mocked and crucified, but that didn’t stop Him from offering His life as a sacrifice for you and for me and for the people we dislike. Since He did that for us, we can at least do little deeds of goodness that are no fun to do.
Love means choosing to do good whether we like it or not. To love with our whole heart, soul, mind and strength means choosing to let nothing prevent us from doing good, no matter how we actually FEEL about it. Love is not always a nice feeling. But love IS always a choice that brings us into unity with the One Who Is Love.
However, we are incapable of loving others more than we love ourselves. Jesus said, “Love your neighbor AS you love YOURSELF.” Loving ourselves and doing good for ourselves to meet our needs gives us the confidence and freedom to do good to others no matter how difficult it might be.
Low self esteem is not God’s plan for you. Let Him heal your wounded heart. Let Him correct bad messages that have cut you down. Let Him point out your goodness and giftedness. Spend time observing yourself through HIS eyes — pay attention to how much He appreciates you; He sees your goodness even when you can’t!
God loves YOU with His whole heart, His whole soul, His whole mind, and His whole strength.
© 2002 by Terry A. Modica