Loving the Person in the Mirror
Bible Reading: Ephesians 5:29-30
No one hates his own body but lovingly cares for it, just as Christ cares for his body, which is the church. Ephesians 5:29
Alyssa is so wrapped up in herself that the rest of the world can slide by right under her nose, totally unnoticed. Take today, for example.
As Alyssa crosses the street to school, she steps into traffic without looking. Horns blare. Tires squeal. Multiple cars crash and bang and pile up on top of each other. Did I hear something? Alyssa asks herself.
As Alyssa charges through the front door of school, she knocks down an elderly school lunch lady. She stomps all over Mrs. Fudgebottom as she presses on to homeroom. “Those custodians really need to sweep better,” she mumbles.
And as Alyssa fiddles with her hair at a mirror in her desk, her whole school is suddenly ablaze. Alarms wail. Students shriek. Only when a firefighter tosses Alyssa over his shoulder does she realize something might be amiss—with her hair, that is. “Put me down!” she yells. “I’m not finished!”
It’s clear that Alyssa loves herself in a big way. But this might surprise you: Did you know that Jesus commands you to love yourself?
In Matthew 22:39 Jesus says you should “love your neighbor as yourself.” He means that you should model your love for others after your love for yourself.
Wait a minute! you might be thinking. I’m not supposed to love myself Jesus said I should deny myself. Loving myself is bad. But that’s confusing a good thing (taking care of yourself) with a bad thing (being stuck on yourself).
As Christians our most basic job is to care for ourselves—to feed ourselves and guard ourselves from harm. We should look after ourselves mentally, physically, spiritually, and socially. And that loving respect we show for ourselves will teach us how we should love others. Jesus didn’t say, “Love others instead of loving yourself.” Jesus is saying something like this: “You already love yourself, and doing that in the right way is good. Now love others just like that.”
God declares that you are lovable just because he made you. If you are his creation, you deserve care and respect. If God says you are lovable, then it’s right to love yourself. Don’t trash what God says is a treasure!
TALK: What are some right ways you can love yourself?
PRAY: God, teach us to take care of ourselves—not to be selfish, but to have the right kind of self-love.
ACT: Lots of moms and dads are so busy caring for kids’ needs that they never care for their own. Ask your parents how you can lend a hand—so they can find some time for themselves!