For as he thinks in his heart,
so is he .
Do you like yourself? Most people don't like themselves, you know. I
have many years of experience with people, trying to help them be whole
emotionally, mentally, spiritually and socially I felt it was a
major breakthrough when I simply discovered that most people really
don't like themselves. Some of them know it, while others don't even
have a clue that is the root of many other problems in their life.
Self-rejection and even self-hatred are the root causes of many
relationship problems. God wants us to have great relationships. I
have found the Bible to be a book about relationships. I find
teaching in it about my relationship with God, with other people and
SEEK PEACE IN RELATIONSHIPS
.[Do not merely desire peaceful relations with God, with your
fellowmen, and with yourself, but pursue, go after them!]
1 Peter 3:11
God's Word instructs us to have good relationships, but it also
teaches us how to develop and maintain those relationships.
I found this particular Scripture in The Amplified Bible to be very
enlightening. As I studied it, the Holy Spirit revealed to me that
first I must have peace with God. I must believe that He loves me.
He does not wait until I am perfected to love me; He loves me
unconditionally and completely at all times. Second, I must receive
Receiving is a big issue. When we receive from God, we actually take
into ourselves what He is offering. As we receive His love, we then
have love in us. Once we are filled with Gods love, we can begin
loving ourselves. We can also begin giving that love back to God and
bestowing it on other people.
Always remember: we cannot give away what we don't have!
THE LOVE OF GOD
. God's love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy
Spirit Who has been given to us.
The Bible teaches us that the love of God has been poured out in our
hearts by the Holy Spirit Who has been given to us. That simply
means that when the Lord, in the form of the Holy Spirit, comes to
dwell in our heart because of our faith in His Son Jesus Christ, He
brings love with Him, because God is love. (1 John 4:8.)
We all need to ask ourselves what we are doing with the love of God
that has been freely given us. Are we rejecting it because we don't
think we are valuable enough to be loved? Do we believe God is like
other people who have rejected and hurt us? Or are we receiving His
love by faith, believing that He is greater than our failures and
What kind of relationship do you have with God, with yourself and
ultimately with your fellowman?
It never occurred to me that I even had a relationship with myself.
It was just something I never thought of until God began teaching me
in these areas. I now realize that I spend more time with myself
than with anyone else, and it is vital that I get along well with
You are one person you never get away from.
We all know how agonizing it is to work day after day with someone
we don't get along with, but at least we don't have to take that
person home with us at night. But we are with us all the time, day
and night. We never have one minute away from ourselves, not even
one second - therefore, it is of the utmost importance that we have
peace with ourselves.
WE CANNOT GIVE AWAY
WHAT WE DON'T HAVE
". Freely you have received, freely give."
Matthew 10:8 NKJV
With the help of the Lord I learned to receive Gods love, to love
myself (in a balanced way), to love God in return and to love other
people. But it was neither quick nor easy because of my personal
It seemed to me that I had always had difficulties in relationships,
and I really did not know why. I could not find people that I liked
and enjoyed who also felt the same way about me. Through God's help
I finally realized what the problem was: I was trying to give away
something that I did not have.
As a young believer I heard sermons about the importance of
Christians loving each other, and I was sincerely trying to walk in
love, but I failed continually I needed to get Gods answer hooked up
with my particular problem. I had heard with my ears that God loved
me, but I had not really believed it for myself. I may have believed
it in general, but not personally I had the problem, and I had the
answer, but I was not making the right connection between the two.
Many times we know what our problem is, but we cannot seem to find
the right answer to it. On the other hand, we often discover an
answer in Gods Word, but we really don't know what our problem is.
God wants to reveal to us the nature of our true problems and the
answer to those problems that are found in His Word. When we make
the right connection between them, when we hook up the right problem
with the right revelation - the devil is on his way out, and freedom
is on its way in.
For example, I saw in the Bible that we were to walk in love. I knew
that I had a problem with love, but I did not know that my problem
We frequently try to deal with the bad fruit in our lives and never
get to the root cause of it. If the root remains, the fruit will
keep coming back. No matter how many times we cut it off, eventually
it will come back. This cycle is very frustrating. We are trying the
best we know how, and yet it seems we never find a permanent
solution to our miseries.
I was desperately attempting to display loving behavior, but I had
failed to receive God's love; therefore, I could not give love away
I did not have any to give.
LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOU LOVE YOURSELF
For the whole Law [concerning human relationships] is complied
with in the one precept, You shall love your neighbor as [you do]
While I was seeking answers to my problems, the Holy Spirit opened
up to me Galatians 5:14 in a way I had never seen or heard before. I
was experiencing marriage problems. My husband and I were not
getting along - it seemed we couldn't agree on anything, we had
strife almost continually. It was affecting our children in an
adverse way. All the anxiety and turmoil were affecting my health. I
had to have some answers!
THE ANSWER IS LOVE
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear
1 John 4:18 KJV
When the Holy Spirit revealed this Scripture to me, I asked myself,
could it be possible? Was I hearing God right - could it be as
simple as "Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so"?
I had a lot of fears in my life, and 1 John 4:18 was telling me that
perfect love would cast out fear.
I had tried walking in "perfect love" and had failed daily. I
thought "perfect love" referred to my loving others perfectly. I was
now beginning to see that perfect love was Gods love for me - He is
the only One Who can love perfectly
Gods love is perfect even when we are not!
LOVED TO LOVE OTHERS
May Christ through your faith [actually] dwell (settle down,
abide, make His permanent home) in your hearts! May you be rooted
deep in love and founded securely on love, That you may have the
power and be strong to apprehend and grasp with all the saints
[God's devoted people, the experience of that love] what is the
breadth and length and height and depth [of it].
As I meditated on these Scriptures and others like them, I felt like
a blind person who was seeing for the first time. My problem was a
lack of love. I had never received proper love in my life;
therefore, I had never learned to properly love myself. I didn't
even like myself, let alone love myself.
If nobody else loves us, we don't see why we should love ourselves.
If others don't love us, we think we must not be worth loving.
We should love ourselves - not in a selfish, self-centered way that
produces a lifestyle of self-indulgence, but in a balanced, godly
way, a way that simply affirms God's creation as essentially good
and right. We may be flawed by the years and the unfortunate
experiences we have undergone, but that does not mean we are
worthless and good for nothing but the trash can.
We must have the kind of love that says, "I can love what God can
love. I don't love everything I do, but I accept myself, because God
accepts me." We must develop the kind of mature love that says, "I
know I need to change, and I want to change. In fact, I believe God
is changing me daily, but in the meanwhile I will not reject what
God accepts. I will accept myself as I am right now, knowing that I
will not always remain this way."
Our faith gives us hope for the future. As He did with the
Israelites, God will help us conquer our enemies (our "hangups")
little by little. (Deuteronomy 7:22.) He will change us from glory
to glory as we continue to look into His Word. (2 Corinthians 3:18
KJV.) He is the Author and Finisher of our faith. (Hebrews 12:2
KJV.) He has begun a good work in us, and He will complete it and
bring it to its final fulfillment. (Philippians 1:6.)
Once we receive God's love and begin to love and accept ourselves,
it greatly improves our relationship with Him. Until we accept His
love, the cycle is incomplete. We can love Him only because He first
loved us. (1 John 4:19.)
We all know how frustrating it is to attempt to give a gift to
someone who keeps refusing to take it. I love to surprise people and
give them something they want or need. I have had the experience of
planning a surprise, going shopping, spending my money, getting
everything ready, and yet when I gave my gift, the person was so
insecure they did not know how to simply receive my gift graciously.
Insecurity and feelings of unworthiness keep us from being able to
receive very well. We may feel that we must earn or deserve
everything we get. We may think, "Why would someone want to just
give me something?" We may become suspicious: "What is their motive?
What do they want from me? What are they after?"
There are times when I try to give something to someone and have to
spend so much time and energy convincing them I really do want them
to have it, that the situation becomes downright embarrassing. I
just want them to take it! I want them to show their appreciation
for my gift by graciously receiving it and enjoying it.
If we as humans feel that way, how much more does God feel that way
when He tries to give us His love, grace and mercy, and we refuse it
because of a false sense of humility or unworthiness? When God
reaches out to love us, He is attempting to start a cycle that will
bless not only us but also many others.
Gods plan is this: He wants us to receive His love, love ourselves
in a balanced and godly way, generously love Him in return, and
finally love all the people who come into our lives.
We have failed to follow that plan for years. We are not even loving
others with our own love, much less with Gods love. Remember, we did
not have any love with which to love anyone until God first loved
ACCEPTANCE OR REJECTION?
And God saw everything that He had made, and behold, it was very
good (suitable, pleasant) and He approved it completely. And there
was evening and there was morning, a sixth day.
Rejecting ourselves does not change us, it actually multiplies our
problems. Acceptance causes us to face reality and then begin to
deal with it. We cannot deal with anything as long as we are
refusing to accept it or denying its reality.
Webster's II New College Dictionary defines accept in part as: "1.
To receive (something offered), esp. willingly. 2. To admit to a
group or place. 3.a. To consider as usual, proper, or right, b. To
consider as true."
I notice from this definition that acceptance involves the will. If
I apply this definition to self-acceptance, I see that I can choose
or not choose to accept myself God is offering me the opportunity to
accept myself as I am, but I have a free will and can refuse to do
so if I so choose. I also see from this definition that when
something is accepted, it is viewed as usual, proper or right.
People who reject themselves do so because they cannot see
themselves as proper or right. They only see their flaws and
weaknesses, not their beauty and strength. This is an unbalanced
attitude, one that was probably instilled by authority figures in
the past who majored on what was weak and wrong rather than on what
was strong and right.
The word acceptance from the same dictionary is defined in part as
"approval" and "agreement."2 If we are having problems accepting
ourselves as we are, I suggest that we need to get into agreement
with God that what He created is good - and that includes us.
In Amos 3:3 we read, Do two walk together except they make an
appointment and have agreed? To walk with God, we must agree with
God He says He loves us and accepts us; therefore, if we agree with
Him, we can no longer hate and reject ourselves.
We need to agree with God that when He created us, He created
Once again let me emphasize that I realize everything we do is not
good, but at this point we are discussing ourselves, not our
behavior. Later in the book we will discuss in detail how God views
what we do; right now in this beginning chapter we are more
concerned with who we are in Gods sight.
You may be at the same place I was when God began revealing these
principles to me. You see the things in yourself that need to be
changed, and it is very difficult for you to think or say, "I accept
myself." You feel that to do so would be to accept all that is wrong
with you, but that is not the case.
I personally don't believe we can even begin the process of change
until this issue is settled in our individual lives.
CHANGE REQUIRES CORRECTION
For the Lord corrects and disciplines everyone whom He loves, and
He punishes, even scourges, every son whom He accepts and welcomes
to His heart and cherishes.
This truth about God's correction and discipline of those He love is
verified by Jesus Himself in Revelation 3:19 when He says: Those
whom I [dearly and tenderly] love, I tell their faults and convict
and convince and reprove and chasten [I discipline and instruct
them]. So be enthusiastic and in earnest and burning with zeal and
repent [changing your mind and attitude].
Change requires correction - people who do not know they are loved
have a very difficult time receiving correction. Correction does no
good at all if it is not received.
In dealing with my children and hundreds of employees over the
years, I have discovered that correction must be given in love.