The Greatest Commandment is to “Love others AS we love ourselves.” (Matthew. 22:36-40)
This commandment assumes that we love ourselves correctly, but if we do not, it is unlikely we will love others, as we should. Of course, an inordinate self-love is wrong, but many people don’t understand that if they do not love themselves appropriately, it hinders and sometimes blocks the expression of love to others.
So let’s tie the “Greatest Commandment” to another often-quoted passage from 1st Corth.13:4-7. These verses are often used at weddings or in sermons to challenge us to love others. However, in order to love others correctly, we must first apply the love chapter to ourselves.
Let’s personalize those verses
LOVE IS PATIENT
Are you patient with yourself or do you demand more of yourself than is realistic?
Affirmation: I will be patient with myself and refuse to expect perfection in everything I do.
LOVE IS KIND!
Are you kind to yourself or is your self-talk often negative and harsh? (Like, You’re such a jerk)
Affirmation: I will be kind to myself knowing that I can learn from my mistakes.
LOVE DOES NOT ENVY!
Are you satisfied with who you are and what you have, or do you compare yourself to others? (2 Cor. 10:12)
Affirmation: I will not waste time wanting what others have or wanting to be like them, realizing that God had a purpose for making only one of me.
LOVE DOES NOT BOAST!
Do you have a habit of adding a little to every story or achievement?
Affirmation: My self-worth is not based on the approval of others, so I will stop trying to impress them by self-promotion.
LOVE IS NOT PROUD!
Do you have a sane estimate of yourself and your achievements? False humility is also a form of pride.
Affirmation: I will refuse to over-value or under-value my achievements or myself. (Rom. 12:3 NLT)
LOVE IS NOT RUDE!
Do you ridicule or belittle yourself? (i.e., “sometimes I’m so stupid”)
It’s inappropriate to say that to others so why do I say it to myself.
Affirmation: I will not put myself down in the presence of others or with negative thinking.
LOVE IS NOT SELF-SEEKING!
Few people are completely self-centered but is this an issue you should deal with?
Affirmation: I will remember that Jesus said; “the first shall be last and the last shall be first.”
LOVE IS NOT EASILY ANGERED!
Are you easily irritated with yourself?
Affirmation: I will stop turning my anger inward and try to increase my ability to live with my imperfections.
LOVE DOESN’T KEEP A RECORD OF THE PAST!
Do you continue to remind yourself of past failures?
Affirmation: I will refuse to be controlled by the memory of my failures.
LOVE DOES NOT DELIGHT IN EVIL BUT REJOICES IN THE TRUTH.
Do you inwardly rejoice when your adversary is damaged by an improper activity that becomes public?
Affirmation: I will not be joyful that their reputation will suffer while at the same time be glad that truth has triumphed over untruth.
LOVE ALWAYS PROTECTS!
Do you protect your physical, mental, and spiritual health by setting reasonable boundaries?
Affirmation: I will give more attention to protecting and maintaining my God-given strengths, and gifts.
LOVE ALWAYS TRUSTS!
Do you believe in yourself enough to try again?
Affirmation: I will give myself another chance in any area where I have failed in the past.
LOVE ALWAYS HOPES!
Have you given up on your personal situation or your dreams?
Affirmation: I will accept myself as a person of value and potential, refusing to give into despair. I will look for success just around the corner.
LOVE ALWAYS PERSEVERES!
Have you stopped loving yourself?
Affirmation: I will start loving myself correctly and remind myself often that God never gives up on me because His love is unconditional and His acceptance of me is not based on my performance.
In order to love others correctly, I will personalize these admonitions from First Corinthians 13 and will apply them to myself daily as needed.