(Bible quotations are from the NIV unless otherwise stated)
Relationship with Yourself
13th July 2006
This is the last of the three talks on relationships I was asked to give recently.
Your relationship with yourself is probably very different from your relationships with others or your relationship with God in this way; sometimes youíre indifferent about others, sometimes (if youíre honest) youíre indifferent about God, but not many of us are indifferent about ourselves.
Sometimes we may hate ourselves. All the time, we love ourselves. Yes Ė even when we hate ourselves.
When we hate ourselves, actually itís often more like embarrassment or disappointment than true hatred. Have you got a relative or friend who seems to let themselves down with their behaviour or their attitude, and you cringe for them sometimes, wanting them to be the person you think they could and should be and hating their failures? Thatís probably how you feel about yourself.
If any of you are incredibly well-adjusted and canít relate to this, I congratulate you.
Itís difficult not to want to be what youíre not. Itís said that every girl with straight hair wants to have curly hair, and every girl with curly hair wants to have straight hair, that every blond girl wants to be brunette and every brunette wants to be blond. Iím sure thatís an exaggeration Ė there must be one girl whoís curly and blond (or whatever) and happy with it. But most of us are unsatisfied with who we are Ė even down to our hair, or our height, or our accent (me), or something.
How we feel about ourselves is probably similar to how we feel about our bodies:
But you may well feel like you hate your body. You donít. You love it. You love it so much that you want it to look and feel better than it does.
In the same way, you probably donít hate yourself; you just yearn to be doing better than you are, more highly esteemed, more healthy in body, soul and spirit.
How many of us have had the experience of feeling like something is true about us but not about every other Christian weíve ever met?
Thereís even a strand of teaching that we ought not to love ourselves very much. Have you heard that JOY stands for ďJesus first, Others second, Yourself lastĒ? Do you know that itís unbiblical? In fact, weíre called to love ourselves as much as we love others:
Love yourself as you love others Ė offer yourself the same forgiveness, the same number of times, the same tolerance, the same acceptance.