"Love your neighbor as yourself" (Galatians 5:14). "As yourself." This may not command self-love, but it certainly makes it a prerequisite for loving others. If you called another person by the names you call yourself would he or she be a moron? idiot? screw-up? loser? Would God want you to love someone else as you love yourself?
We are creatures of infinite value because we are created by an infinite God. To disrespect ourselves is to disagree with God Almighty. If we do that, we can't fulfill God's most important command to love God and others.
What if we don't have self-esteem; where do we begin? We begin by receiving the love of God. "We love because He first loved us" (1 John 4:19). I would suggest getting a highlighter that won't bleed through thin Bible pages and highlighting every Scripture that makes you feel loved by God in a special color. The Psalms are a good place to start. Go over these Scriptures (even commit some of them to memory) until they begin to seep from your head into your heart. (On bad days, only read that color.) Just as we depend on the Holy Spirit to help live out God's word, we can depend on Him to help us receive the love of God.
It starts with God's love and spreads out like a triangle to ourselves and others. Each feeds into the other in balance. As we grow in the love of ourselves, we love God more and others more. As we love God more, we love ourselves and others in increasing measure. And as we love others, we grow in the love of God and ourselves. No part of the triangle can be neglected for love to be complete in our lives.
"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself" (Matthew 22:37-39).
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