I want to tell you about a woman. I’ve known her for as long as I can remember, but to be honest, I haven’t always liked her. Whenever I look at her, all I can see are her flaws. Her behavior at times just baffles me. She does things that don’t make any sense and she says things that make me cringe. There have been times when I actually wished she would just go away and not come back, because I am tired of dealing with her. Those are the times when my Abba Father has to remind me that He loves her, she belongs to Him, and she is precious to Him. He tells me to give her grace, just like I would want grace extended to my precious daughters. It’s easy for me to know He loves my girls. Knowing I’m His girl – that is something that doesn’t come so easily. You see, that woman I was telling you about – she’s me. Here’s what I hear the Father saying loud and clear this week: You’ve got to embrace who I’ve made you and love yourself even as I love you.
One of the things I remember kids saying when I was little was “God says you have to love everybody.” Unfortunately, this was usually followed up with, “But I don’t have to like everybody and, I sure don’t like her!” We thought we had a loophole and as long as we didn’t say “hate” we were okay. I think I’ve played that game with myself. Sure, I love myself, but I don’t have to like me, do I? I can even put a spiritual spin on it and convince myself that what I’m really doing is preferring others before myself, not engaging in the sin of self-hatred. Dear sisters, our Daddy God does not want us beating up on that sweet little girl who belongs to Him. Remember, we don’t belong to ourselves anymore. We are His and He calls us to take good care of what He has entrusted to us – even ourselves. Rejection, hatred, having a judgmental and critical spirit toward someone – all of these are sins even when directed at ourselves. We may be jars of clay, but the Lord Himself is the potter Who shapes us. He has spilled the blood of Jesus to redeem us. No higher price could have been paid for our salvation. Not only that, but He has honored us by filling us with His Spirit. Romans 15:7 says, “Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.” How can I call unacceptable what Jesus has accepted? When I embrace who He has made me – my unique heritage, skill set, life experiences, even appearance – then I will bring praise to God and be ready to be used by Him. How can I love my neighbor as myself, until I first learn to love myself? (Matthew 22:39)
Beloved, learn to love that woman who lives in your skin. Accept her as God’s gift to you. Be kind to her and show her abundant grace, because she is the precious daughter of the Lord Most High.
Abba Father, please teach us to be gentle with ourselves. Don’t let us be our own worst enemies. Please help us learn to love ourselves, not in selfishness, but simply resting in the grace and patience that comes from You. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.