How We See Ourselves
“Evil would like nothing better than for us not to like ourselves” (Mr. Rogers). Satan is the father of lies. From the beginning, he is a liar. Satan would like nothing better than to destroy us. One of his best tools is to do that from within. We focus, and rightly so, much attention on the outward man. But Satan’s real victories come when he can get the inner man to believe his lies.
Jesus said a man is to “love his neighbor as himself”. Paul said a man is to “love his wife as he loves himself”. Man was created in the image of God. The thought that man is to love himself is often dismissed as positive mental mumbo jumbo. Neither the Lord nor Paul are talking about positive mental attitude where man takes no account of himself. However, both the Lord and Paul tell us that man is to highly value himself. He is to highly value himself because he is created in the image of God. Satan would love nothing better than for us to loath ourselves. He wants us to diminish who we are in God’s eyes. If evil can convince us we are of no value and no better than a dog, then why try to live up to the image of God?
Yes, Paul warns us not to think too highly of ourselves. But the fundamental premise is man is to think highly of himself. How can we think too highly of ourselves if we do not first think highly of ourselves? The person who thinks he is no better than a worm is not challenged by that. He already thinks lowly of himself. If you have every talked to a person who is addicted to alcohol or drugs, you might hear them say, “I am just not worth anything”. Until that person sees they are of great value, they will not take the effort to get any better. First, they need to stop believing the lie they are of no value. They need to like themselves.
Have you ever been around a person who is always negative? They have nothing good to say about themselves or anyone else. What is their problem? They have believed the lie that Satan sold. He has convinced them they are of no value, and they do not like themselves. Believing the lie affects every aspect of their lives: marriage, job, financial, etc.
We have enough problems with our own internal conversations; we do not need the help of evil. We can beat ourselves up enough without any help from Satan. We already see ourselves as of little value. We do not need a push from evil. We are already broken by sin. We already feel deep guilt and shame for having broken the heart of God. We have self-loathing because of the loved ones we have hurt. Just stop! Stop it! God’s grace is sufficient to make us we strong when we are weak. God’s forgiveness restores us. He is telling us, “I have not given up on you! You do not give up on yourself! Stop listening to the lies! Listen to My truth! You are made in My image! Love yourself, for I love you!”
If all we see is what is awful about ourselves, then all we see is what is awful about our neighbor and our mates. All the world will be dark. No, let the Son in. He is the light of the world. He changes everything about how we see ourselves! By His grace, we are Sons of God!