Friday, November 6, 2009

Loving Yourself: Humility vs. Self-deprecation:

Some of you may have read this post before.  I thought it needed to be reiterated.  With such a constant focus on pride, this topic tends to be looked over.  I would love to hear your thoughts on this.  Also, please make sure to subscribe to my blog by email so you can get the lastest reflections! 

Loving Yourself
Mark 12:31

Love your neighbor as yourself.

From the beginning of time there has been a deficit of love in our world.  There has been a deficit of how man loves his God.  There has been a deficit of how man loves one another.  And there has also been a deficit of how man loves himself.

For this reason, these five words hold such powerful insight into the human psyche.  The more I learn about the discipline of psychology, the more I am amazed with how well God knows His people.  There is proof of that knowledge within these words.

The beauty of this verse is that with two words God is relaying a foundational truth that many times goes ignored: “As Yourself”.  You cannot love others, until you have learned to love yourself.  I meet so many Christians who struggle continually with this concept.  I meet Christians who have wrestled with the concept of loving themselves because their lives have been filled with self-denial, self-hatred and self-loathing.  Christians who have never been taught to love themselves.  Christians who mistakenly thought they had found some solace in the words of the Bible that taught them to deny their self, to put others before them, and to consider their selves as nothing.  There is tragedy in this type of degradation.

This type of “denial” is a dangerous misconception.  Masking self-loathing with self-denial is a dangerous road.  Confusing humility with a lack of self worth causes more harm than good.  We are called to love ourselves, to enjoy how God has made us, to delight in our uniqueness, our value, and our worth.  God delights in us, and we also are to delight in who He has created us to be.  We are to love ourselves.

You see, God is not calling us to deny who he has made us to be, but rather, who He has not made us to be.  To deny our sinful nature with its temptations and its downfalls.  To deny our selfishness and our stubbornness.  To deny our lust, our pride, our idolatry.  To deny the things that separate us from God.  And only those things.

Christians, we are called to love ourselves- just as God loves us.  We are called to delight in ourselves as He delights in us.  And when we do, we will find that gates to loving others have never been so easy to walk through.  We will find that loving others becomes so real, so genuine, and so complete.  We will find that in that beautiful exchange of love between our self and our God, we find the strength and motivation to exchange that same love with our neighbors.

Lord, give us the ability to love ourselves as you love us- in order that we may then learn how to truly love others.


  1. Your article reminds me of the lyrics to "The Greatest Love of All" -- a great song with an important message.

  2. Etier, thanks for your thoughts, and yes you are totally right, "learning to love yourself is the greatest love of all".

    But for me, going even beyond that- is learning how much God really loves us. I think that is the key to learning how to really love ourselves. When we recognize our innate value, given to us by God- there is something very freeing in that. Thanks for your thoughts. Glad this article resonated with you!!

  3. Please help me to understand if and why the following is true. Humility and self-loathing are incompatible and can't exist at the same time. -----Thanx------

  4. That is a great question...I'll do my best to answer it as well as I know how.

    As we look through the bible, humility is not the same as self-loathing. Humility is KNOWING and APPRECIATING the good that you have, but not having to use that to gain value in the world.

    Two examples, the first being Jesus. He was the SON OF GOD. He had all power, all authority, all wisdom....He had it all, really. But He didn't use that to gain the respect of people, He didn't need to use that because it was only important to Him what God thought about him. He loved those things about Him, but ultimately, he wanted to please God above else.

    Paul, is another example. He listed all his amazing qualities, and then he said- I don't boast in these things, I boast in was only important to him to be who God wanted him to be. He didnt HATE those things, he just didnt focus on them as a source of value....because value is far deeper than our "talents" and our "personalities".

    God gave you amazing qualities....qualities that make you one else has the things you have, but ultimately, you should know that and appreciate that. Self-loathing is not part of the equation. God loves you, and wants you to love yourself too....because you are his creation, and not loving yourself would be an insult to him, in a sense.

    Hope that helps.


Love to hear your thoughts...