Showing Grace to Ourselves

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Many people are their own toughest critic. I am. But what’s unhealthy is treating oneself with disdain, and that has been a problem for me at times. I will speak to myself with severe contempt at my stupidity or failure or some other thing.

It wasn’t until the Lord, in his gentle way, checked me one day about it.

What he is teaching me is to not treat myself the way I would never treat another person. Get that: God instructs us to do to others as we would have them do to us, yet I was doing to myself as I would never do to others or allow them to do to me.

I could hear the Spirit within—“Stop saying that.” Then, one day the message became clear: You are a recipient of the grace of God; it dishonors him for you to dishonor yourself. Christ paid too high a price for my well-being for me to side with the Evil One in my attitude about myself.

YOU are Important to God

We are to love our neighbors as we love ourselves (Luke 10:27), or with the same care we show for our own bodies and concerns. The scriptures assume our individual welfare prior to our interaction with others, which is only natural. Paul says, “No one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body” (Eph. 5:29).

Look at common clichés: “Take care of home first” and “Health is wealth”—because if I’m in poor health, or die…

Hear Paul again: “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity” (Col. 3:12-14).

So the Lord says to me and us all, why is this any different for you…by you? Cast away fear, regret, worry, and other negative emotions by remembering that you belong to God and are in the grip of his perfect plan for you. He’ll help you sort out the kinks.

More: The Golden Rule and Who Is My Neighbor?