I love dogs. In fact, I there have been very few times either growing up or being an adult that I don’t remember having a dog in the house. Dogs are some of the most social, self-less, and loving creatures on the planet. Dogs, though long domesticated, still to see themselves as pack animals, like wolves, and long to please the perceived “pack leader.” Depending on the dog’s personality, you’ll know when they messed up-chewing on the furniture or having an “accident” on the rug as he or she will hang their head in shame. It’s obvious the dog knows what he or she did, they just need to be loved and reassured that they are still an accepted member of the pack.

I also find dogs to be very intuitive animals, as they can discern people, situations, or even coming environmental changes, such as thunderstorms. Dogs have been used in medical studies to sniff out tumors in people. Though dogs show outward affection to their family members and other people, they are often hard on themselves when they make a mistake. Sound familiar?

When it comes to matters of faith, our greatest enemy is often not the devil, people, or even a specific group of people, but we are often our greatest enemy. When we approach God from a hyper-religious mindset, we will be weighed down with guilt and shame because we failed do to points A, B, and C properly. We begin to loathe ourselves and see ourselves as unworthy to be loved- whether by God or anyone else. This lack of self-love and self-acceptance often creates a void in our lives which can lead us into addiction, anxiety, depression, or feeling worthless. In essence, we approach God as that dog who chewed up a family member’s shoes; We know what we did, we’re waiting for the hammer to drop.

While the Bible teaches that we are sinners, our sins separate us from God, and the only way to find forgiveness is to accept Jesus’ sacrifice and repent of our sins, the Bible also teaches us the value of loving ourselves. We are commanded not only to love God, our spouses and family, our neighbors, and our enemies, but to love ourselves as well.

“You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.” (Leviticus 19:18, NKJV, emphasis mine).

The Hebrew word used for love, Ahab or Aheb (Strong’s #157), refers to love in a general  sense, like our English word.  Strong’s defines Ahab as “having strong emotional attachment to and desire either to possess or be in the presence of the object.”

In the New Testament, Jesus takes this concept one step further as He sums up following God’s word in two commandments:

“‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:37-40, NKJV, emphasis mine).

The Greek language had multiple terms for love, and the word used here is Agapao (Strong’s #25), which signifies an unconditional love, as God loves us unconditionally. (See also Mark 12:29-31, Luke 10:27, Romans 13:8-10, Galatians 5:14, and James 2:8 for an introductory study).

From just this brief study of Scripture, it is a given that we are to love ourselves. Of course, we put God and others before us, but we must accept ourselves as we are. We should neither hate ourselves nor harm ourselves. We must stop spiritually, physically, and emotionally beating ourselves up over the past. You’ve made your mistakes, nothing can change that, go forward. God knows you made your mistakes and He still loves you.  Anyone in your life who truly loves you will love you through your struggles. You must love yourself through it.  If you have asked God to forgive you, your slate is wiped clean. You must make peace within yourself. As strange as it sounds, forgive yourself. If you haven’t sought God’s forgiveness, don’t wait until you “get your act together,” because God loves you as you are, for the Bible tells us that “While we were sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8). Seek all of the resources that are before you. How can you truly give your heart and soul to God or open your heart to another if you refuse to accept yourself?  Life is a struggle, but you can make it. You will make it. The God of the universe believes in you, you can believe in Him and yourself. God bless you all.

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  1. kriztle34

    Without a remorseful and repentant heart we will not be able to reconcile with God. Since God is love as soon as we go to him with a true heart of repentance, He will bestow us with love making us complete. The end result of going to God with a contrite heart is not anxiety or depression. The end result is conversion. .“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.”
    ‭‭(Ezekiel‬ ‭36:26‬) The scriptures in psalms 51:17 says God doesn’t despise a broken spirit and contrite heart (kind of like the guilty dog) the scriptures you use that mention self love actually imply that self love comes naturally. We don’t need to be reminded to love ourselves; the problem with the current condition of mankind is the excessive amount of self love exercised perpetually. “Mark this: there will be terrible times in the last days: People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God…(2 Timothy 3: 1-5)

    1. lastdaydisciple Post author

      Thank you for taking the time to read my post. I agree with your comments. We must come to God and we must repent. Conversion is indeed the end result. Even though we are forgiven, we can still allow ourselves to feel condemnation, which can lead to doubt, which can lead to being anxious and discouraged. Though are spirits are made right, it can still be a battle to renew our minds, that was the point I was trying to make, it just didn’t come across clearly enough. Sorry for the confusion.

      1. kriztle34

        Forgive me if I have come across critical. You are an excellent writer and we are on the same team. Your message is there’s no condemnation for those who are in Christ. This is absolutely right; there was just some subtleties that didn’t rub me the right way reading this that I did find concerning. Because of this I wanted to draw a line. There’s a lot of nonsense that has wiggled its way into the church because people don’t feel a need to repent because they have become empowered by a false sense of righteousness. There’s no condemnation for those who are in Christ yes but we have to take the whole scripture to reap the blessings of that scripture and the blessing comes in the latter part: So that now, there is no condemnation to those who are in Christ, Jesus, who walk not according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. (Romans 8:1) God will meet us where we are yes but it’s not in His plan for us to stay there. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:2)

        1. lastdaydisciple Post author

          I didn’t perceive your comment as critical. I agree with everything you said. I agree there is so much false teaching that has sneaked in the church and we must be very, very, discerning. I appreciate your feedback and I welcome any comments you have. Thanks once again for taking the time to enjoy the blog.